Province in a league of their own
CURRIE CUP MATCH REPORT: Western Province showed why they are outright favourites to retain their title as the country’s domestic champions.
The defending champions beat their closest rivals, the Sharks, 50-28 in a powerful display of their dominance at Newlands on Saturday.
The final tally – including outscoring the visitors by seven tries to four – is an accurate reflection of how much better WP is than the rest of the country’s competitors.
It also ended the Sharks’ unbeaten run, leaving Province entrenched at the top of the standings – and guaranteed a home semifinal and Final, if they advance that far.
They have five bonus-point wins from five this season, the only unbeaten team in the competition – with just one match left before the play-offs.
The Sharks scored first, inside the opening minute.
Then followed 31 unanswered points by the home team in a half-an-hour of total dominance and sublime display of entertaining rugby.
The Sharks managed to get back into the game and pulled two tries back to close the gap to 21-31 at the half-time break.
The second half was, for most part, a very evenly contested affair.
However, when it mattered most – in the final quarter – the home team found an extra gear and scored three crucial tries to take the game away from the visitors.
The visitors opened the scoring with an early try from centre Marius Louw, but Western Province responded with four tries of their own.
The first came from No.8 Jaco Coetzee, who barrelled over after continuous waves of attack had brought his team within striking distance of the tryline.
The second try came from defence, as the home side pressed the Sharks onto the back foot, with centre Ruhan Nel eventually grabbing an intercept to race away and score.
Left wing Sarel Marais then slotted a penalty from just in front of the halfway line, before sparking another try. A break on the halfway line resulted in Dillyn Leyds shooting through a gap to score and bring the Newlands faithful to their feet.
The crowd were back up as right wing Sergeal Petersen burst into space and then showed incredible pace to round the last defender and make it 31-7 to Western Province.
The Sharks hit back with tries from forwards Tyler Paul and Gideon Koegelenberg to make it 31-21 at the break.
The visitors were first to score in the second half as well, with replacement wing Aphelele Fassi scoring in the corner to cut Western Province’s lead to just three points.
The hosts consolidated and a strong maul put them in position for Marais to burst over for a fifth try, which gave them some breathing room at 36-28 with 15 minutes left.
There was time for two more as first Johannes Engelbrecht made an interception and exchanged passes with Marais to score in the corner before Chad Solomon scored at the back of a driving maul to seal the 50-28 win.
on defence. Louis Schreuder was the general in the Sharks backline. Armand van der Merwe showed his value as a second-half replacement, even running in Sevens star Ruhan Nel from behind. Jaco Coetzee – a late inclusion – was invaluable for Western Province with his amazing high workrate. Ruhan Nel sent another reminder to Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus not to forget him, while Sergeal Petersen showed some classic finishing ability – standing up an opponent and then beating him on the outside without a hand being laid on him. Dillyn Leyds did it all – break tackles, toyed with the defence, put his teammates into space and even won turnovers at the breakdown. Our award goes to Western Province wing Sarel Marais – who was involved in much that was positive for WP and kicked all but one of his goals for a personal contribution of 20 points.
A titanic encounter between the top two sides on the log ended in victory for the hosts
— The Sharks (@TheSharksZA) September 29, 2018
For Western Province:
Tries: Coetzee, Nel, Leyds, Petersen, Marais, Engelbrecht, Solomon
Cons: Marais 6
For the Sharks:
Tries: Louw, Van Rhyn, Koegelenberg, Fassi
Cons: R du Preez 4
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Western Province: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 SP Marais, 10 Josh Stander, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Kobus van Dyk, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl (captain), 3 Michael Kumbirai, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Ali Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Salmaan Moerat, 20 Cris Massyn, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 JJ Engelbrecht.
Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Jeremy Ward, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Gideon Koegelenberg, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Mahlatse Ralepelle (captain), 1 Juan Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Coenraad Oosthuizen, 18 Ruben van Heerden, 19 Luke Stringer, 20 Cameron Wright, 21 Leolin Zas, 22 Aphelele Fassi.
Referee: Ben Crouse
Assistant referees: Egon Seconds, Divan Uys
TMO: Shaun Veldsman