Swiel boots Province to the top
CURRIE CUP MATCH REPORT: Flyhalf Tim Swiel kicked a penalty with three minutes remaining to secure the win that sent Western Province to the top of the standings.
Despite his team being outscored by four tries to two, Swiel kicked six penalties and two conversions for a personal contribution of 22 points in a one-point (32-31) win over the Sharks at the Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday.
The result saw WP (11 points after three rounds) overtake the Bulls (10 points) at the top of the standings.
The two bonus points – one for four tries and one for losing by less than seven points) saw the Sharks move into third place in seven points.
While the much-vaunted rain did not arrive till after the match, the wind made for a tricky encounter.
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A flawless kicking display from Swiel, to go with tries by scrumhalf Paul de Wet and No.8 Evan Roos proved enough for the win in a game that went down to the wire.
The home side started on the front foot, winning a scrum penalty and coming close to scoring from a maul before flyhalf Tim Swiel got them on the scoreboard with an early penalty.
They followed that up with the opening try, as scrumhalf Paul de Wet picked up a loose ball and showed great pace to outstrip the defence and put his side 10-0 up.
The Sharks responded with a try from close range as flank Thembelani Bholi forced his way over.
Swiel’s placekicking was deadly and he would add a further three penalties in the first half, however, it was the visitors who took a slender 21-19 lead into half-time thanks to two tries from scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse.
Western Province came out firing in the second half, with No.8 Evan Roos carrying a defender on his back in the 22 to storm over for a try which gave them the lead back.
That was followed up by another penalty from Swiel which gave them a crucial eight-point buffer at 29-21.
The visitors reduced the gap to just one point, with hooker Fez Mbatha going over from close range, to set up a tense final half-hour.
The teams traded penalties and the lead in a tense finish to the game, but Western Province did enough to hold on for a one-point win.
Man of the match: Manie Libbok and Jeremy Ward made some crucial tackles in the final quarter that kept the Sharks in the hunt, while hard-working forwards like Thembelani Bholi and Fez Mbatha were also good value for their team. The Sharks’ best player was flying wing Thaakir Abrahams – the Paarl born and schooled youngster constantly troubling the Province defence – even winning a crucial turnover near his own line in the second half. Scrumhalf Paul de Wet had his moments and captain Ernst van Rhyn worked hard. No.8 Evan Roos was pure power. Our award goes to Western Province flyhalf Tim Swiel. It was not flawless, but his educated boot won the match for his team.
For the Western Province
Tries: De Wet, Roos
Cons: Swiel 2
Pens: Swiel 6
For the Sharks
Tries: Bholi, Hendrikse 2, Mbatha
Cons: Bosch 4
Western Province: 15 Sergeal Petersen, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 Cornel Smit, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Tim Swiel, 9 Paul de Wet, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Hacjivah Dayimani, 6 Marcel Theunissen, 5 David Meihuizen, 4 Ernst van Rhyn (captain), 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Reinach Venter, 1 Ali Vermaak.
Replacements – from: 16 Jason Alexander, 17 Leon Lyons, 18 Sazi Sandi, 19 Justin Basson, 20 Johan du Toit, 21 Juarno Augustus, 22 Godlen Masimla, 23 Abner van Reenen, 24 Lee-Marvin Mazibuko, 25 Lyle Hendricks.
Sharks: 15 Manie Libbok, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Jeremy Ward (captain), 12 Marius Louw, 11 Thaakir Abrahams, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Mpilo Gumede, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 James Venter, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Khutha Mchunu, 2 Fez Mbatha, 1 Khwezi Mona.
Replacements: 16 Dan Jooste, 17 Ntuthuko Mchunu, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 JJ van der Mescht, 20 Reniel Hugo, 21 Dylan Richardson, 22 Grant Williams, 23 Boeta Chamberlain.
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant referees: Local
TMO: Aimee Barrett-Theron
* Picture credit: @WP_RUGBY