Province break their Currie Cup duck
REPORT: Huw Jones scored a hat-trick as Western Province recorded their first win of the Currie Cup season.
Outclassing a hapless Eastern Province Kings, Province won 36-6 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, in Port Elizabeth, on Saturday.
It was not the most convincing performance, but the bonus-point victory has at least kept WP's play-offs alive.
Centre Huw Jones scored a hat-trick as WP overcame a slow start to the season.
Both sides came into the basement battle desperate to record an opening victory, having each lost their first two fixtures.
Placed eighth and ninth respectively, WP and EP were expected to go hammer and tong at each other, but WP just had too much class for the home side.
The Kings were quick out of the blocks with a third-minute penalty kicked by flyhalf Kobus Marais.
But a team try in the 12th minute, rounded off by the pace of left wing Leolin Zas and converted by flyhalf Brandon Thomson, saw the visitors take the lead.
Minutes later they were at it again when centre Jones took the last pass to force his way over for the team's second try.
The Kings suffered a major blow when No.8 Christiaan de Bruin was shown a yellow card in the 23rd minute.
But they still managed a penalty through Marais to reduce the gap to 12-6.
But there was another yellow card for the Kings as flank Etienne Oosthuizen was given 10 minutes in the bin. WP used their superior numbers in the scrum on the stroke of halftime to grab the third try as No 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe forced his way over.
The second half was a stop-start affair and hardly produced any eye-catching rugby until very late.
It took all of 18 minutes after the break for WP scrumhalf Jano Vermaak to register the first points of the second half when he scrambled over midway out. Thomson added the extra two points to put some daylight between the teams at 24-6.
Vermaak's try also secured the bonus point for the visitors.
Jones picked up his second try by wrong-footing and out-sprinting the Kings defence to score untouched, and then soon after that, ran in for his third try as Thomson converted to complete the win.
Man of the match: Ricky Schroeder had another solid outing as captain and scrumhalf. Christiaan de Bruin and Etienne Oosthuizen were also both very productive - on occasion pushing the envelope too far and both earning themselves a 10-minute stint in the sin bin. Huw Jones was a handful for the Kings defence, scoring a hat-trick, while Cheslin Kolbe's darting runs and dancing feet as troubled the home team. Sikhumbuzo Notshe is growing in stature with every outing. Robert du Preez looked energetic when he came on as a replacement. However, our award goes to young Western Province flyhalf Brandon Thomson - who controlled the game for large parts and showed maturity beyond his age.
For the Eastern Province Kings:
Pens: Marais 2
For Western Province:
Tries:Zas, Jones 3, Notshe, Vermaak
Cons: Thomson 3
Yellow cards: Christiaan de Bruin (Eastern Province Kings, 23 - cynical foul, killing the ball), Etienne Oosthuizen (Eastern Province Kings, 39 - cynical foul, killing the ball)
Eastern Province Kings: 15 Johann Tromp, 14 Siviwe Soyizwapi, 13 Johan Greyling, 12 Burton Klaasen, 11 Sampie Mastriet, 10 Kobus Marais, 9 Ricky Schroeder (captain), 8 Christiaan De Bruin, 7 Etienne Oosthuizen, 6 Vince Jobo, 5 Sebastian Ferreira, 4 Mthetheleli Fuzani, 3 Vukile Sofisa, 2 Mike Willemse, 1 Justin Forwood.
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Barend Potgieter, 18 Dylon Pieterse, 19 Luke van der Smit, 20 Brandon Brown, 21 Lungelo Goza, 22 Ganfried May.
Western Province: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Daniel du Plessis, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Brandon Thomson, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Jurie van Vuuren, 6 Kobus van Dyk, 5 Chris van Zyl (captain), 4 JD Schickerling, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Neil Rautenbach, 17 Alistair Vermaak, 18 Oliver Kebble, 19 Jan de Klerk, 20 Stefan Willemse, 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Robert du Preez.
Referee: Lesego Legoete
Assistant referees: Ben Crouse, Vusi Msibi
TMO: Christie du Preez