Province upset Sharks to claim Currie Cup title
Province were the underdogs going into the game, but they were clearly the better team on the day.
The Cape side were particularly dominant in the forward battle where they crushed the Sharks at scrum time. They also outscored the Sharks by four tries to two with centre Huw Jones grabbing a brace.
The Sharks were on the attack straight from the kick-off after Province failed to secure possession in their own half. But, after a number of phases, they could not find a way past the Province defence in that first few minutes.
However, just when it looked like the Cape side were out of jail, centre Marius Louw burst through Province's defence before shifting the ball wide to veteran Odwa Ndungane who sprinted in for the game's first try in the fourth minute. Curwin Bosch, from a tight angle, added the extra two points with the conversion.
The Sharks' lead did not last too long, however, as Province were able to get points from their first foray in the Sharks' 22.
After a scrum a few meters from the Sharks' tryline, the ball got shifted wide with centre Huw Jones stepping past a defender to go over for a try in the ninth minute. Robert du Preez levelled the scores with the conversion.
There were some troubling signs early on for the Sharks at scrum time with Province bulldozing them on a couple of occasions.
Despite their failings in the scrums, the Sharks looked good in other areas of the game and they found themselves back in front in the 15th minute when Bosch slotted a penalty.
Robert du Preez senior's side then went further in front in the 18th minute when No.8 Daniel du Preez powered over from close range after sustained pressure inside WP's 22. Bosch could not convert it, but the Sharks had a handy eight-point lead.
The Sharks were then dealt a blow when they lost Jean-Luc du Preez to injury and not long after that in the 25th minute flyhalf Du Preez converted a penalty into three points to reduce the deficit to five points.
Bosch had an opportunity to restore the eight-point lead soon after, but he pushed his penalty wide.
However, the young flyhalf was given another chance a minute later and he managed to regain his direction to punish Province with a three-pointer in the 28th minute.
Bosch then showed his class once again when he landed a 48-metre drop goal to push his side's lead out to 11 points in the 32nd minute.
But it would be Province who would have the final say in the half when wing Dillyn Leyd went over for a try after the half-time hooter sounded to bring his team back into the game.
The try stemmed from sustained pressure in the Sharks' 22. However, Du Preez could not add the extra two points with the conversion.
Province were well and truly back in it 10 minutes into the second half when Nizaam Carr broke off the back of a scrum in the Sharks' half before evading a defender and offloading to Cobus Wiese who sprinted in for his side's third try. Du Preez could not convert from a tight angle, but Province were just one point behind on the scoreboard.
However, Province did not have to wait long after that score to get the lead for the first time in the game when Jones scored his second try after he was given the ball off a neat offload from Seabelo Senatla in the Sharks half. Du Preez added the extra two points and Province were leading 27-21 with 25 minutes left in the game.
Du Preez rubbed more salt in the Sharks' wounds in the 60th minute with a penalty to push the lead to 30-21.
Western Province were well in control of play in the second half and things got worse for the Sharks in the 70th minute when Daniel du Preez was given a yellow card for cynical play.
His older brother, Robert, then stepped up to add another three points for Province to push the lead to 12 points.
There was no way back for the Sharks after that as Province claimed their 34th Currie Cup title.
Man of the match: Huw Jones scored two tries, while flyhalf Robert du Preez was brilliant in directing play once again. However, it was Province's pack that laid the platform for victory, especially the front row. Wilco Louw, Mbongeni Mbonambi and Jacobus Janse van Rensburg together with their teammates in the pack deserve the award.
Tries: Am, D du Preez
Pens: Bosch 2
For Western Province:
Tries: Jones 2, Leyds, Wiese
Cons: Du Preez 2
Pens: Du Preez 3
Yellow card: Daniel du Preez (Sharks, 70 – cynical play, offside)
Sharks: 15 Garth April, 14 Jacobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Odwa Ndungane, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Ruan Botha (captain), 4 Tyler Paul, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Thomas du Toit.
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Jean Droste, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Tristan Blewett, 23 Rhyno Smith.
Western Province: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Huw Jones, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Cobus Wiese, 6 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 5 John Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl (captain), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Jacobus Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Alistair Vermaak, 18 Frans van Wyk, 19 Jan de Klerk, 20 Kobus van Dyk, 21 Jano Vermaak, 22 Werner Kok, 23 Dan Kriel.
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Egon Seconds, AJ Jacobs
TMO: Marius Jonker
Photo: Wayne Seagreen