Province stay on course
Sat, 19 Oct 2013 14:23
The Final is against the Sharks at Newlands next week
Western Province not only retained their unbeaten status, but will host a Currie Cup Final for the first time in 12 years.
Western Province produced a comprehensive 33-16 win over a willing Golden Lions outfit at Newlands on Saturday, to book their place in the grand finale next week.
It was a festive crowd in the Newlands sunshine. The crowd of 32 719 was colourful - predominantly blue and white - they had flags and clapper sticks, and they were excited and involved.
They cheered every ball Western Province won, every time the Golden Lions knocked on - they always had something to cheer. Every Western Province pass was cheered and once their side got ahead their joy was unbounded.
There was nothing nasty about it - just great support for a team that they knew would win. And the people leaving the ground afterwards smiled those broad Western Cape smiles, knowing for certain that they lived in the best part of the world.
The Golden Lions, notoriously slow starters, started this one in fine style. They spoilt the kick-off when the ball did not go 10 metres but then destroyed the Western Province scrum. Then at the third scrum, Western Province dominated. But in the match there were four scrum penalties, three against Western Province.
The first time Western Province were penalised at a scrum, Elton Jantjies goaled - 3-0 after 6 minutes. The second time they were penalised at scrum Jantjies goaled again to make it 6-3 after 21 minutes.
In between Western Province had two great chances to score tries. In the first the Golden Lions were on the attack when Jean de Villiers intercepted near his own 22 and off he set with long strides through empty acres, but his long strides did not cover the ground as quickly as Anthony Volmink's shorter strides and Volmink caught De Villiers inside the Golden Lions 22.
A lot of helter-skelter rugby ensued till Siya Kolisi threw a long pass out to Cheslin Kolbe and the young wing sped down the left. He gave to the other slippery eel, Gio Aplon, who was tackled just short of the line. Then a short pass on advantage saw Aplon over. But the prudent referee consulted the judicious TMO who said that the little pass from Louis Schreuder to Aplon had been forward. That cancelled the advantage for a penalty against Lionel Mapoe for being offside and Dimitri Catrakilis goaled - 3-3 after 17 minutes.
Western Province attacked down the left and bulky Duane Vermeulen thrust himself forward. Inside the ball went to Catrakilis who swept round for a try beneath the posts - 10-6 after 21 minutes. And the Western Province flags waved in joy.
Western Province were attacking through their forwards but suffered one of many turnovers and the Golden Lions kicked.
Gerhard van der Heever saved but the Golden Lions were on the attack. Another scrum penalty against Western Province made the score 10-9 after 29 minutes.
Then came as great an individual moment as the great ground has seen in its 123 years. There was some scrappy play in the Western Province half when Schreuder passed to Aplon. The fullback shaped to kick and then suddenly accelerated and burst down the midfield. Out on his own as no rugby player could have caught up to him, he veered to his left and in a flash was over in the left corner as Volmink dived to tackle him. On a run of some 57 metres Aplon had beaten four Golden Lions and set Newlands screaming in delight.
The referee received advice that there had been foul play - Vermeulen's elbow in Chris van Zyl's face. The TMO could detect no foul play and so Jonker turned the crowd's annoyed growls to roars of delight by awarding a wonderful, electric try by such a thrilling player - 15-9 after 37 minutes. It would have been indescribably bad if such individual brilliance had been denied a try because of some individual baseness.
Western Province formed a maul in a line-out and Van Zyl was penalised for taking legs. The siren had gone but Catrakelis made the half-time score 18-9.
Western Province started the second half running and passing with a crowd cheering every action. Now there was Currie Cup Final expectation in their voices, the first at Newlands since 2001 when Western Province beat the Sharks. Eventually Warren Whiteley was penalised for being offside - 21-9 after 49 minutes.
Catrakilis had a kick charged down into his 22 but Aplon was at hand to start running and Western Province attacked. This time Derick Minnie was penalised at a tackle - 24-9.
The Golden Lions were now playing catch-up rugby. A penalty gave them a five-metre line-out but Western Province repelled them. They bashed and Western Province tackled them away.
With 17 minutes to go Schalk Burger came on to loud cheers. He replaced Siya Kolisi who went off to even louder cheers.
With nine minutes left Franco van der Merwe was penalised at a tackle and Catrakilis made it 27-9 and victory was clearly beyond the Golden Lions.
But Siyabonga Ntubeni tackled Robbie de Bruyn, lifted him and was sent to the sin bin. The Golden Lions kicked for a five-metre line-out which Western Province contained. The Golden Lions bashed and then Whitely dashed over as Burger did everything he could to keep him off the ground - 27-16 with five minutes to play.
In those five minutes the Golden Lions were twice penalised at tackles and Kurt Coleman, on for Catrakilis, goaled twice to make the final score 33-16.
Man of the Match: He had to come from Western Province and there were several candidates including Dimitri Catrakilis, Duane Vermeulen and Siyabonga Ntubeni but ultimately the choice was an easy one - Gio Aplon, on defence but above all on attack. Somebody asked if he oiled himself for slipperiness.
For Western Province:
Tries: Catrakilis, Aplon
Pens: Catrakilis 5, Coleman 2
For the Golden Lions:
Pens: Jantjies 3
Yellow card: Siyabonga Ntubeni (Western Province, 73 - foul play, spear tackle)
Western Province: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Jean de Villiers, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Deon Fourie (captain), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Frans Malherbe, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Michael Rhodes, 19 Schalk Burger, 20 Nic Groom, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 Juan de Jongh.
Golden Lions: 15 Marnitz Boshoff, 14 Chrysander Botha, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Andries Coetzee, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Derick Minnie (captain), 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Chris van Zyl, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 CJ van der Linde.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Julian Redelinghuys, 19 Willie Britz, 20 Warwick Tecklenburg, 21 Tian Meyer, 22 Robert de Bruyn.
Referee: Marius Jonker
Assistant referees: Jason Jaftha, Marc van Zyl
TMO: Shaun Veldsman
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