WP, Kings punch semi tickets
Sun, 05 May 2013 10:24
Kings complete stunning fightback
Western Province and the EP Kings beat Griquas and the Blue Bulls respectively on Saturday to progress to the Vodacom Cup semifinals.
The Pumas will host the EP Kings at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit next weekend, while the defending Vodacom Cup champions, Western Province, have to travel to Ellis Park in Johannesburg to face the Golden Lions.
At this stage, both semi-finals are scheduled for next Saturday. The final kick-off times will be confirmed early in the week.
Western Province may have unearthed a new superstar in Cheslin Kolbe.
The diminutive fullback scored two delightful tries as they beat Griquas 21-13 in their Vodacom Cup quarterfinal at Newlands.
While a big performance at Vodacom Cup level is not necessarily an indication that a player will flourish when he takes a few steps up, Kolbe is certainly rich in promise.
Province were down 0-10 with half-time approaching when Kolbe conjured up something out of nothing as he spun out of a few tackles to score under the posts.
He was then lifted and thrown to the ground by the Griquas shortly after the restart, which led to the visitors’ No.8 Leon Karemaker getting yellow-carded.
Province opted to set up a line-out drive from the ensuing penalty and flyhalf Kurt Coleman stepped up for the kick after Griquas transgressed.
The teams were tied 10-all at halftime, but Western Province had clearly gained the initiative.
Griquas then learned a painful lesson inside the first minute of the second half after the ball was cleared from their 22-metre area down Kolbe’s throat.
The fullback sped past two defenders before swerving his way through to the try-line. Coleman couldn’t convert, but added two more penalties as Western Province pushed home their advantage.
Their 21 unanswered points proved more than enough as Griquas struggled to hold onto the ball and didn’t have the imagination to unlock Western Province’s defence.
Griquas did all the running up until five minutes before half-time when flank Marnus Schoeman scored on the back of their seventh visit to Western Province’s 22-metre area.
That statistic was a telling one as they failed to convert their pressure into points in the first half.
Griquas’ biggest failing was their inability to do anything else than opt for route one on attack. While they had an advantage in size, they failed to barge their way through Western Province barring the one time that Schoeman slipped through.
Province were happy to pick off the big runners and also did very well to stop Griquas’ line-out drives.
There was no Plan B for the visitors and Western Province ultimately saw out the game without too much of a fuss.
For Western Province:
Tries: Kolbe 2
Pens: Coleman 3
Con: De Wet
Pens: De Wet 2
In the other quarterfinal on Saturday the EP Kings scored three late tries to stun the Blue Bulls 34-31 (half-time 6-17) at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria.
The Blue Bulls had looked comfortable as they eased to a 31-13 lead after 64 minutes but the Kings scored three tries in the last seven minutes of the match to secure a semifinal place against the Golden Lions.
The Kings began their fightback when replacement scrumhalf Mpho Mbiyozo sniped over in the 73rd minute for a converted score.
Three minutes later, the score was 27-31 when replacement loose forward Dalton Davis crashed over for a converted try and two minutes into extra time the Kings sealed a magnificent win when loosehead prop Lizo Gqoboka crashed over from close range.
The Kings made an early impression on the scoreboard and they fashioned a 6-0 lead after 19 minutes courtesy of two penalties from fullback Scott van Breda.
However, the Bulls struck back through a 19th minute penalty from flyhalf Handre Pollard before the hosts took control of the contest with two converted tries in the space of three minutes.
Left wing Sampie Mastriet rounded off a fine team try in the 34th minute before outside centre Dries Swanepoel seared through a gap in Kings’ defence after being put into a gap by sumptuous pass from his centre partner Rohan Janse van Rensburg.
The Blue Bulls went to the break holding at comfortable 17-6 lead but the EP kings struck back six minutes after the restart when lock Stefan Willemse rumbled over for a converted try to narrow the gap to four points.
However, the hosts grabbed their third try 13 minutes later when flank Wiaan Liebenberg crashed over for a converted try after a powerful rolling maul.
The Blue Bulls’ powerful pack of forwards was starting to assert their dominance and the home team nabbed their fourth try when replacement prop Basil Short dotted down for a converted try after yet another rolling maul.
But if the hosts thought that they had the match sewn up they received a rude awakening.
For Blue Bulls:
Tries: Mastriet, Swanepoel, Liebenberg, Short
Cons: Pollard 4
For EP Kings:
Tries: Willemse, Mbiyozo, Davis, Gqoboka
Cons: Van Breda, Dunlop 3
Pens: Van Breda 2
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