Province are top of the pops
Sat, 12 Oct 2013 19:06
WP v Lions & Sharks v Cheetahs in semis
Western Province finished top of the Currie Cup standings with a 17-13 win over the Sharks in a bruising battle in a very wet Durban on Saturday.
The outcome of this is that WP will host the Golden Lions at Newlands next week in one of the semifinals, while the second-placed Sharks are at home to the Free State Cheetahs in the other play-off match.
With the rain bucketing down before and during the match, the conditions were always going to make an expansive game a risky business.
As a result there was more than the usual amount of kicking, but both teams still showed a willingness to take the ball wide when it looked on in the first half.
However, the rain became more intense in the second half, turning the game into even more of a territorial battle.
The biggest problem for the home team is that they were not always clinical enough, often coughing the ball up in good positions.
In contrast Province - courtesy of the conditions - could rely on their renowned defence to knock the Sharks out of their stride.
Another huge factor in this game was the number of Springboks in the two teams who returned to the domestic scene, which meant the brutal intensity and ferocious nature of the collisions were also more than what have been on display this season.
Demetri Catrakilis and Fred Zeilinga exchanged early penalties, before Catrakilis landed a sweetly-struck drop-goal. That was followed by a second Zeilinga penalty.
The first try only came in the 26th minute and was fortuitous in its nature - WP getting control of a ball bobbling all over the place and quick hands then taking to the left where captain Deon Fourie used his pace to outflank thew cover and go over. It required the TMO several looks to determine if the try was legal and even then he found no "clear and obvious" evidence of a knock-on, despite the suspicion from the referee that there may have been one.
The last act of the first half was a Catrakilis penalty, giving the visitors a 14-6 lead at the break.
Eight minutes into the second half the Sharks got their first try. Keegan Daniel, who was put on the bench shortly before kick-off - with Jacques Botes leading the team out for a record 147th Currie Cup game - who went over in the left corner. The Sharks displayed some sublime handling in the build-up to the try, but still required confirmation from the TMO.
Patrick Lambie, another Bok coming off the Sharks bench at half-time, slotted the conversion - although it required a fortuitous bounce off the upright.
Catrakilis made it a four-point game with 20 minutes left on the clock and 10 minutes later Lambie missed two shots at goal in quick succession.
Despite their best efforts, the Sharks could not crack the WP defence and the game ended with that four-point advantage in favour of the visitors.
Man of the match: There was an intriguing battle between the flyhalves - Fred Zeilinga against Demetri Catrakilis in the first half and Patrick Lambie against Catrakilis after the break. SP Marais was solid on the assortment of high balls hoisted in his direction. And all the Springboks made a contribution in some way, but our award goes to Western Province No.8 Duane Vermeulen - who showed he is so much more than just a bruising ball-carrying loose forward, winning a number of crucial turnovers.
For the Sharks:
Pens: Zeilinga 2
For Western Province
Pens: Catrakilis 3
Sharks: 15 SP Marais, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Tim Whitehead, 12 Heimar Williams, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Jacques Botes (captain), 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Peet Marais, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Beast Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Stephan Lewies, 19 Keegan Daniel, 20 Cobus Reinach, 21 Pat Lambie, 22 Louis Ludik.
Western Province: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Michael van der Spuy, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Siyamthanda Kolisi, 6 Deon Fourie (captain), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Frans Malherbe, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Michael Rhodes, 19 Schalk Burger, 20 Nic Groom, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 Jean de Villiers.
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan
Assistant referees: Jason Jaftha, Reuben Rossouw
TMO: Shaun Veldsman
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