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Province to meet Sharks in Final

Sat, 20 Oct 2012 19:04
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Naive Lions made to pay in Jo'burg
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Western Province advanced to the 2012 Currie Cup Final when they edged a willing Lions team 21-16 in their semifinal in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Province will meet the Sharks in Durban next Saturday, after outscoring the Lions by two tries to one in a thrilling encounter.

While the never-say-die attitude of WP deserves reward, the Lions will be kicking themselves for their naive approach that often gifted the visitors opportunities - including setting up the line-out that ultimately resulted in the winning try.

What a final ten minutes. For 20 minutes it seemed that the Golden Lions were settling comfortably into the Currie Cup Final. Michael Rhodes had bounded through for a try under the posts and they led 13-6.

Then as the game ran out, more and more it was Western Province who were on the attack, contrary to the usual belief about visitors to the Highveld.

Consider this:
* With eight minutes to go Joe Pietersen of Western Province scored on the right and it was 13-11.
* With five minutes to go, Pietersen goaled a penalty. 14-13.
* With two minutes to go, Elton Jantjies of the Golden Lions goaled a penalty. 16-14.
* With 36 seconds to go, Western Province threw into a line-out, formed a maul and jumped for joy at the prospect of the Currie Cup Final in Durban.
* At 21-16 the final whistle went.

Spare a thought for the brave Golden Lions. A year of disappointment ended with yet another bitter disappointment when they seemed set for the Final. Knock-out matches of this sort can be so harsh. And it could so easily have been different. In the first half they missed four penalty kicks at goal - 12 points, and ended the half 6-3 behind.

In the first half, during which it rained, both sides showed every intention of running the ball and each side had a chance to score a try.

Western Province scored first when JC Janse van Rensburg was penalised for taking out the support in the line-out, the same offence that gave the Golden Lions a 16-14 lead two minutes before the end. Demetri Catrakilis goaled. 3-0 after three minutes.

The Golden Lions attacked down the left and Gerhard van den Heever quite deliberately slapped the bouncing out into touch. He was penalised and sin-binned, but Jantjies missed the penalty attempt.

The Golden Lions kept attacking and looking for chances to counterattack. especially Andries Coetzee and Ruan Combrinck. Then, when the whole Western Province front row was penalised at a scrum, Combrinck kicked the penalty goal from 58 metres out. It was a huge kick. 3-3 after 17 minutes.

Throughout the match the Golden Lions had the beating of the Western Province scrum.

Western Province had a golden chance to score when Gio Aplon heavily tackled Jantjies as the flyhalf was kicking. The ball was spilled and Western Province looked certain to score but Don Armand was held up over the line as Jaco Kriel and Callie Visagie tackled him when a pass may well have been the wiser option.

Duane Vermeulen held the ball at the back of the subsequent scrum and the Golden Lions backs were penalised for being offside. 6-3 after 30 minutes, the half-time score.

Lionel Mapoe broke off a short pass from Franco van der Merwe. A tackle by Aplon saved Western Province. The Golden Lions destroyed a Western Province scrum, Eben Etzebeth went offside, and Jantjies goaled. 6-6 after 44 minutes.

Van den Heever had a searing break but the Golden Lions won a turnover and Michael Bondesio sped down the left. He grubbered ahead. Juan de Jongh was back for the ball but could not secure it. The Golden Lions won a turnover and Rhodes galloped past De Kock Steenkamp and Steven Kitshoff to plonk the ball down under the posts. 13-6 after 50 minutes.

Western Province attacked through phases but Deon Helberg tackled Aplon out at the corner. Western Province mauled a line-out and then went wide but Marcel Brache knocked on. Bryan Habana countered and Van den Heever raced ahead. But it was the Golden Lions who nearly scored.

They won a turnover and the next thing Helberg was racing after a ball kicked downfield. He was leading the race to the ball but overran it and Habana saved.

Then came the last, dramatic eight minutes, Western Province attacked through phases with young substitute Damian de Allende prominent and Habana active. They went wide to the right where Louis Schreuder, on at flyhalf for Catrakilis, sent a long pass to Pietersen who surged over far out. 13-11 with the conversion to come. The ball fell off the tee. Pietersen hastily replaced it, kicked and missed. 13-11.

Jebb Sinclair won a Golden Lions throw into a line-out and the Western Province went left. Pietersen went through a halfgap and passed inside to De Jongh who raced, swerving, past three Golden Lions till an ankle-tap by Coetzee brought him to ground. But the Golden Lions were penalised and Pietersen goaled. 14-13.

Back came the Golden Lions with an attacking line-out. This time Etzebeth was penalised for taking out the support in a the line-out and Jantjies goaled. 16-14 with less than two minutes to play.

Western Province kicked off deep. Warren Whiteley caught the kick-off and a tackle/ruck formed some eight metres outside the 22. Bondesio passed back to Jaco Taute who kicked a long way downfield but directly into touch.

That gave the Western Province a line-out 15 metres from the Golden Lions line. They threw to Etzebeth at No.2 and formed the maul which they then waggled and nudged down till Deon Fourie, who controlled the ball at the back, fell to earth for the try that won the match.

Man of the Match: There were several brave performances in such a close encounter but our choices is the brave, industrious, alert, skilful Bryan Habana.

Moment of the match: It has to be that powerful maul in the dying seconds, from which Western Province captain Deon Fourie went over for the match-winning try.

Villain of the match: This one goes to Western Province wing Gerhard van den Heever, for his silly decision to slap the ball into touch. He is lucky the Lions failed to make their numerical advantage count.

The scorers:

For the Golden Lions:
Try:
Rhodes
Con: Jantjies
Pens: Combrinck, Jantjies 2

For Western Province:
Tries:
Pietersen, Fourie
Con: Pietersen
Pens: Catrakilis 2, Pietersen

Yellow card: Gerhard van den Heever (Western Province, 6 - professional foul, slapping the ball into touch deliberately)

Teams:

Golden Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Lionel Mapoe, 13 Jaco Taute, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Ruan Combrinck, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Jaco Kriel, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Michael Rhodes, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg (captain).
Replacements: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Hendrik Roodt, 19 Derick Minnie, 20 Ross Cronje, 21 Butch James, 22 Deon Helberg.

Western Province: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Marcel Brache, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Don Armand, 6 Deon Fourie (captain), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Deon Carstens, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 19 Jebb Sinclair, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Damian de Allende, 22 Joe Pietersen.

Referee: Marius Jonker
Assistant referees: Sindile Mayende, Stefan Breytenbach
TMO: Johann Meuwesen

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