Province end Sharks' unbeaten run
MATCH REPORT: The Sharks' unbeaten run in this year's Currie Cup Premier Division ended when they went down 27-34 to Western Province at Newlands on Saturday.
Province outscored their opponents by five tries to two, with Curwin Bosch's boot keeping the visitors in the match, especially in the first half.
Western Province made a blistering start to the match when centre Johnny Kotze scythed through the Sharks defence to score the game's first try in the third minute.
The Sharks were able to reduce the deficit via a Bosch penalty a few minutes, but it was the Cape side who were dominating play.
Province then extended their lead in the 11th minute when Sevens star Werner Kok collected the ball after a kick over the Sharks' defence to score his team's second try. Robert du Preez converted for an 11-point lead.
Both Du Preez and Bosch exchanged penalties before the latter added another three points from the kicking tee in the 23rd minute to bring his team within eight points of Province.
The Sharks then showed their class with ball in hand when Jean-Luc du Preez scored their first try of the game. After a strong scrum, the ball went through a number of phases before Du Preez scored an easy try in the corner. Bosch could not convert, but the visitors were within three points of Province.
Province's ill-discipline continued to let the Sharks back into the game when Bosch converted his fourth penalty from almost 50 metres to levels the scores in the 36th minute.
The Sharks then took the lead two minutes from half-time when Bosch converted another penalty.
Robert du Preez had an opportunity bring Province on level terms going into the break. However, his penalty attempt from far out went agonisingly wide.
In the second half, Province came out firing and after sustained pressure in the Sharks they took the lead in the 43rd minute.
After a number of attempts at a driving maul in the Sharks' 22, flyhalf Du Preez sent a cross kick, which EW Viljoen gathered above Bosch to score his team's third try.
The Sharks then suffered another blow when Jean-Luc du Preez was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle in the 46th minute.
Province then extended their lead 10 minutes later after a strong driving maul in the Sharks' half resulted in a try for flank Kobus van Wyk, which involved some slick handling by prop JP Smith. Du Preez could not convert, but Province did have a handy seven-point lead.
As the game entered the final 15 minutes, the momentum was fully with Province. After putting the Sharks under pressure again with the maul in the visitors' 22, the ball went wide where flyhalf Du Preez sent a deft grubber for Viljoen, who gathered and scored his second try of the game. Du Preez converted for a 14-point lead.
However, the Sharks were not about to lie down and they were back within seven points of Province when replacement Rhyno Smith dived over for a converted try after some swift backline play deep inside the home side's half.
The Sharks had a few opportunities in the Province half towards the end of the match to try and level matters. However, costly errors in the strike zone handed the home side an important victory.
Man of the Match: Both teams had a few contenders for the award. However, flyhalf Robert du Preez deserves it after setting up a number of his team's tries and for an outstanding kicking game as well.
For Western Province:
Tries: Kotze, Kok, Viljoen 2, Van Dyk
Cons: Du Preez 3
Pen: Du Preez
Tries: Du Preez, Smith
Pens: Bosch 5
Yellow card: Jean-Luc du Preez (Sharks, 46 - Dangerous play, tip tackle)
Western Province: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Werner Kok, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Johnny Kotze, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Stefan Willemse, 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 JP Smith, 19 Jan de Klerk, 20 Jurie van Vuuren, 21 Dewaldt Duvenage, 22 Scott van Breda.
Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Sibusiso Sithole, 10 Inny-Christian Radebe, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Keegan Daniel (captain), 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Juan Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Mahlatse Ralepelle, 17 John-Hubert Meyer, 18 Jean Droste, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Michael Claassens, 21 Heimar Williams, 22. Rhyno Smith.
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman, Jaco Kotze
TMO: Marius Jonker