WP book play-off spot with bonus-point win in Durban
CURRIE CUP REPORT: Western Province booked their place in next weekend’s Currie Cup semifinals after they claimed a 35-24 bonus-point win over the Sharks in Durban on Saturday.
The 13-all draw between Griquas and the Pumas in Kimberley earlier in the day meant the Capetonians had a mountain to climb, having to secure a full-house or win by at least 24 points to snatch the fourth qualifying spot from the Lowvelders.
They came out firing as the expected rain stayed away, playing with great pace and intensity and scoring two tries in the opening quarter before the Sharks grew into the game and turned the tide.
However, Western Province were not to be denied as they scored three second-half tries to upset the vaunted hosts in spectacular fashion.
As a result, they will face the table-topping Bulls in Pretoria next weekend for a place in the decider, while the other semifinal will see the Sharks host Griquas.
The mission was clear: DHL WP needed a bonus-point win in Durban to keep their season alive and they came up with the goods in fine style, scoring five tries to win 35-24 and book a semifinal next week. #SHAvWP #wpjoulekkerding #dhldelivers pic.twitter.com/QEDDcZ3ufJ
— WP RUGBY (@WP_RUGBY) August 28, 2021
Western Province got off to a good start with Paul de Wet taking a quick tap from five metres out and passing to Dan du Plessis, who scored the first try. Tim Swiel’s conversion made it 7-0 after eight minutes.
Curwin Bosch put the hosts on the board with a penalty goal from bang in front four minutes later after the fullback had missed an early long kick at goal. Moments later, Du Plessis was in for his second, grubbering, running around Henco Venter and re-gathering to score in the right-hand corner, with Swiel slotting the conversion.
The Sharks responded with a fantastic try started by Sanele Nohamba, who flung a fantastic offload to Bosch who linked up with Phepsi Buthelezi, with the No.8 popping the ball to Yaw Penxe to dot down. Bosch nailed the conversion to make 14-10.
The chase for a bonus-point victory saw the visitors understandably turn down several kickable penalties, but irony struck when they decided to take the three points on offer as Swiel uncharacteristically missed the target.
The hosts hit the front in the 31st minute when Nohamba took a quick tap and offloaded to Buthelezi, with the ever-present Sharks captain scoring under the posts, making for an easy conversion for Bosch. The action remained fast and furious but the score stayed the same going into the break, the Sharks holding a slender 17-14 lead.
Western Province were good out of the gate again in the second half, De Wet – who was pivotal to the up-tempo offence of the men in the hooped jerseys – scoring a seven-pointer from close range. The impressive scrumhalf won a crucial breakdown penalty in his 22 later on to relieve the pressure as the Sharks built momentum.
As the game entered the final quarter, Western Province set up a five-metre line-out and went to their driving maul, but the Sharks were up to the task, forcing them into touch and clearing their line from there. The Durbanites came up short on their next trip into the 22 as well, opting for a scrum instead of the three points only to cough up possession.
A moment of magic from Lionel Cronje put the Sharks back in front in the 71st minute, the flyhalf chipping for Penxe to pounce and score his second. Bosch’s conversion made it 24-21, leaving Western Province with nine minutes to score a fourth try and hang on for the win.
They only needed four as replacement hooker JJ Kotze stormed over for the most important try of the Capetonians’ campaign, and as the Sharks looked for a last-gasp try, Edwill van der Merwe snatched an intercept try to cap off a deserved win for the determined visitors.
Man of the match: The award goes to Western Province scrumhalf Paul de Wet. He gave the Sharks plenty of problems around the rucks and he scored one of his team’s five tries in the win.
Tries: Penxe 2, Buthelezi
Cons: Bosch 3
Tries: Du Plessis 2, De Wet, Kotze, Van der Merwe
Cons: Swiel 5
Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Werner Kok, 12 Murray Koster, 11 Thaakir Abrahams, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi (captain), 7 Henco Venter, 6 James Venter, 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 4 Le Roux Roets, 3 Khutha Mchunu, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Ntuthuko Mchunu.
Replacements: 16 Dan Jooste, 17 Khwezi Mona, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Reniel Hugo, 20 Thembelani Bholi, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Anthony Volmink.
Western Province: 15 Sergeal Petersen, 14 Ruhan Nel, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Tim Swiel, 9 Paul de Wet, 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Marcel Theunissen, 6 Deon Fourie, 5 Johan du Toit, 4 Ernst van Rhyn (captain), 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Andre-Hugo Venter, 1 Leon Lyons.
Replacements: 16 JJ Kotze, 17 Dian Bleuler, 18 Sazi Sandi, 19 Simon Miller, 20 Nama Xaba, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Rikus Pretorius, 23 Tristan Leyds
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: Paul Mente, local appointment
TMO: Aimee Barrett-Theron
Additional source: SA Rugby