WP edge Bulls in epic semifinal at Newlands
CURRIE CUP REPORT: It took extra time to separate Western Province and the Blue Bulls in an epic Currie Cup semifinal at Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday.
In the end Province won 35-32 thanks to SP Marais’ penalty in the second half of extra time after the game finished 32-32 at the end of regular time.
Marais was definitely the hero for Province as he scored 30 points.
Province were leading 32-27 in the final few minutes of regular time. However, sustained pressure inside the Province 22 resulted in Dylan Sage scoring the crucial equalising try, which Manie Libbok could not convert for the win.
It was a tense affair in extra time, but WP held their nerve to book a place in the Final against the Sharks at Newlands.
Western Province made a determined start, taking the ball deep into opposition territory where Marais was able to open the scoring with two consecutive penalties.
The visitors took the lead with the opening try as flank Ruan Steenkamp forced his way over and they followed that up with a second from right wing Duncan Matthews, who finished off a counter-attack.
The teams then traded penalties, with Marais’ fifth successful kick at goal bringing his team within two points at half-time as they trailed 15-17 at the break.
The Blue Bulls struck first in the second half, with a try from flyhalf Manie Libbok taking their lead out to 24-15.
Western Province needed something special and they got it with two quick tries to take the lead back.
The first came following a strong maul from the forwards, with the the ball sent down the backline and Dillyn Leyds offloading to put Marais over for the try.
The second came from their own 22 as replacement hooker Scarra Ntubeni claimed an overthrown line-out and got it away to flyhalf Damian Willemse who kicked long. It was chased down by wing Sergeal Petersen who went close before replacement scrumhalf Paul de Wet darted over.
The conversion from Marais was followed up with another penalty to give them a 32-27 advantage with 20 minutes to play and the Newlands fans getting louder.
Western Province were forced to defend heroically in the finally stages, Sage’s late try levelled the scores at 32-32 and took the game into extra time.
Neither side scored in the first half of extra time, but Western Province edged in front again just after half-time with a seventh penalty from Marais which was enough to seal a dramatic win.
Man of the match: In an epic match like this there were so many contenders. But with 30 points to his name, it has to go to WP star SP Marais.
For Western Province:
Tries: Marais, De Wet
Cons: Marais 2
Pens: Marais 7
For Blue Bulls:
Tries: Steenkamp, Stighling, Libbok, Sage
Cons: Libbok 3
Pen: Libbok 2
* The @rugby365com team unpacks the semifinals in this podcast …
Western Province: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Sarel Marais, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Kobus van Dyk, 5 John Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl (captain), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Ali Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Michael Kumbirai, 19 Salmaan Moerat, 20 Jaco Coetzee, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Josh Stander, 23 Johannes Engelbrecht.
Blue Bulls: 15 Divan Rossouw, 14 Duncan Matthews, 13 Dylan Sage, 12 Johnny Kotze, 11 Jade Stighling, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Hanro Liebenberg (captain), 7 Marco van Staden, 6 Ruan Steenkamp, 5 Eli Snyman, 4 Hendre Stassen, 3 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Replacements: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Frans van Wyk, 18 Conrad de Beer, 19 Ruan Nortje, 20 Nic de Jager, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Tinus de Beer, 23 Franco Naude.
Referee: Egon Seconds
Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge, Paul Mente
TMO: Willie Vos