Province edge Blue Bulls in 13-try thriller
CURRIE CUP REPORT: A late penalty by young utility back Damien Willemse made sure Western Province record a narrow 46-45 win over the Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Sunday.
The Blue Bulls outscored the visitors seven tries to six, however, the accurate kicking display by Robert Du Preez and a late penalty by Damian Willemse secured a first away win for the Capetonians.
The result sees Western Province move into second place on the Currie Cup standings, ahead of Free State, while the Blue Bulls remain sixth with two matches left before the play-offs.
Blue Bulls held a slender 19-17 lead at half-time and looked to have sealed victory when centre JT Jackson went over for their seventh try with three minutes left, but Western Province never gave in and were rewarded with a penalty in the dying minutes.
Willemse, who don the number 15 jersey for the fixture, stepped up and split the uprights to secure a crucial win, their first away from home this season.
Lock JD Schickerling and flyhalf Robert du Preez got over for tries in the first half, with Du Preez converting both and adding a penalty.
Meanwhile, the Blue Bulls responded with two successive tries from Nic de Jager and Edgar Marutlulle to take the slender two-point lead into the break.
As the second half commenced, Province took an early lead thanks to Nizaam Carr. However, the lead soon shifted hands as Ivan Van Zyl went over the chalk.
Wing Seabelo Senatla's brace of tries and Huw Jones five-pointer gave the visitors a platform to build on.
But John Mithcell's troops had other ideas.
Aside from Duncan Matthews' try, the Blue Bulls scored two additional tries by Ulrich Beyers and JT Jackson which did set up the thrilling ending.
In the end with one minute left of clock, Willemse landed the final blow from the kicking tee to secure the dramatic win.
For Blue Bulls:
Tries: Gelant, De Jager, Maruthulle, I. van Zyl, Matthews, Beyers, Jackson.
Cons: Boshoff 3, Jantjies 2
For Western Province:
Tries: Schikerling, Du Preez, Carr, Senatla 2, Jones
Cons: Du Preez 5
Pens: Du Preez, Willemse
Blue Bulls: 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Duncan Matthews, 13 Burger Odendaal (captain), 12 John Jackson, 11 Johnny Kotze, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Ivan van Zyl, 8 Nic de Jager, 7 Tim Agaba, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Aston Fortuin, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Conraad van Vuuren, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Dayan van der Westhuizen, 18 Jano Venter, 19 Johannes Prinsloo, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Tony Jantjies, 22 Ulrich Beyers.
Western Province: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Huw Jones, 11 Werner Kok, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Cobus Wiese, 6 Jaco Coetzee, 5 John Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl (captain), 3 Frans van Wyk, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 Jacobus Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Dean Muir, 17 Allister Vermaak, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Jan de Klerk, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Dewaldt Duvenage, 22 Ruhan Nel.
Referee: Jaco van Heerden
Assistant referees: Jaco Pretorius, Egon Seconds