WP crush Cheetahs' play-off hopes with late Swiel kick
CURRIE CUP REPORT: A Tim Swiel penalty goal on the stroke of full time handed Western Province a hard-fought 31-29 Currie Cup win over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.
The result means the Cheetahs will not be playing in this year’s Currie Cup play-offs even though they have one more match left.
It was heartbreak for the Free Staters after they launched a brilliant comeback in the second half – with two tries in quick succession – to take the lead late in the match.
The home team actually “won” the second stanza 20-14, but it wasn’t enough and unfortunately for the Cheetahs, Swiel (flyhalf) had the final say with his seventh penalty goal, awarded to the Capetonians off the back of yet another devastating scrum.
Report continues below…
It’s fair to say the WP scrum was the big difference between the two sides, but the Capetonians also defended very well, and made better use of their opportunities on attack.
Apart from struggling in the scrums, the Cheetahs were left ruing some ill-discipline and unnecessary errors which robbed them of attacking continuity.
It was an evenly matched first quarter, with Western Province enjoying the upper hand up front, although the visitors led 6-3 courtesy of two penalty goals by Swiel, and a solitary three pointer by Frans Steyn (inside centre), who had a brilliant game for the Cheetahs and delivered a flawless kicking display.
The Capetonians did cross the Free Staters’ tryline, but after the TMO had a closer look, the “try” by Herschel Jantjies (scrumhalf) was cancelled for an earlier knock-on.
Swiel stretched the visitors’ lead to 9-3 in the 28th minute as they played in the right areas of the field and forced mistakes from the Cheetahs, especially at scrum time.
Steyn, with two long-range penalty goals, and Swiel traded a few more three-pointers, which kept the Free Staters within range of the visitors on the scoreboard.
It didn’t last long though as WP scored a well-worked try, by Jaco Coetzee (flanker), on the stroke of half-time. It came from a lineout drive, which was the result of a penalty for the visitors from yet another dominant scrum.
Swiel pulled the difficult sideline conversion, but with 40 minutes gone, the Capetonians were in control at 17-9.
Two more penalty goals by Swiel, in the first 13 minutes of the second half, took WP’s lead to 14 points as they looked to take control of the encounter, with good defence keeping the Cheetahs out from close range during this period.
Things changed quickly for the visitors though, with two converted Cheetahs tries in two minutes seeing the scores tied at 23-23 with 20 minutes to go.
First, Wilmar Arnoldi (hooker) crashed over for a try from a brilliant driving maul, after which some brilliant interplay by Clayton Blommetjies (fullback) and Rosko Specman (wing), from an average chip kick by Swiel, saw the Blitzbok speedster go over under the uprights.
Steyn’s fourth penalty goal, in the 65th minute, put his team in the lead for the first time in the match, as they seemed to realise the importance of a victory.
However, a careless and unnecessary shoulder charge by Blommetjies handed the momentum back to WP as Bongi Mbonambi (hooker) was mauled over from the resulting lineout, which restored the Capetonians’ lead.
Swiel missed the conversion, which meant Steyn put the Cheetahs back in front with his fifth penalty goal with eight minutes to go when the home team won a scrum penalty.
The WP flyhalf had the final say though with Swiel’s heroics.
Tries: Arnoldi, Specman
Cons: Steyn 2
Pens: Steyn 5
For Western Province:
Tries: Coetzee, Mbonambi
Pens: Swiel 7
Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Rhyno Smith, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Rosko Specman, 10 Reinhardt Fortuin, 9 Ruben de Haas, 8 Jeandré Rudolph, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Carl Wegner (captain), 3 Khutha Mchunu, 2 Wilmar Arnoldi, 1 Boan Venter.
Replacements: 16 Marnus van der Merwe, 17 Erich de Jager, 18 Conraad van Vuuren, 19 Victor Sekekete, 20 Chris Massyn, 21 George Cronje, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Tian Meyer.
Western Province: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Dan du Plessis, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Angelo Davids, 10 Tim Swiel, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Johan du Toit, 6 Jaco Coetzee, 5 David Meihuizen, 4 JD Schickerling, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff (captain).
Replacements: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Chris van Zyl, 20 Marcel Theunissen, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Ruhan Nel, 23 Tristan Leyds.
Referee: Stuart Berry
Assistant Referees: Griffin Colby, Egon Seconds
TMO: Marius van der Westhuizen
Additional source: SA Rugby