WP on cloud nine after 9-try fest

The Sunday Independent - - SPORT -

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.

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