WP on cloud nine after 9-try fest
Aside from the nine tries the hosts scored, they also produced a top effort on defence, which aided them in effectively pouncing on turnover ball and again putting their counterattacking potency on show as they effortlessly turned defence into attack.
But as good as WP were, the Cheetahs were also their own worst enemy as their nowhere defence – something that has become characteristic of the Free State team – made it a very unpleasant afternoon in the Mother City for the visitors. And, unfortunately, the effect of having your frontliners try to make a statement in the PRO14 has left the Cheetahs’ Currie Cup chances in a sorry state (although they are second on the Currie Cup log).
Regardless of that, nothing should be taken away from WP, who as a unit were impressive. Their support play was superb and some of their tries were simply fantastic. So were the swift handling, the inside passes and the quick offloads – between backs and forwards – and the half breaks that were fully used to put the next man away. All of that was great, and it showed that the team is gelling better and better.
And there were also individual spells that made the win even sweeter. Wing Ruhan Nel was dangerous on attack in the wide channels, and Scottish international Huw Jones also added a couple of great touches, including a try.
Damian Willemse also had a decent afternoon as he neatly slotted a few tough kicks at goal, and up front, loose forward Jaco Coetzee punished the Cheetahs for their apparent disrespect for the ball with two tries – one from a Cheetahs pass that went loose which the young forward scooped up before running through.
But the standout player was Craig Barry, who had the perfect Currie Cup debut as he scored a try and bagged the Man of the Match award to boot.
Apart from his debut try Barry, who featured strongly in WP’s SuperSport Rugby Challenges campaign, showed his ability to kick to touch, while his positional play also proved that Western Province have yet another promising option at No 15.