Elmo’s boys ready for their fi­nal show­down with Lions

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE - MIKE DE BRUYN

WESTERN PROV­INCE beat neigh­bours Boland on Mon­day and hosts Sharks on Wed­nes­day, but they face for­mi­da­ble op­po­nents in the Golden Lions for the fi­nal game of the Craven Week at Kearsney Col­lege to­day (3.10pm kick­off).

WP have im­proved game by game and stand a good chance of be­ing crowned the un­of­fi­cial cham­pi­ons for a suc­ces­sive year.

The boys in the fa­mous blue­and-white hoops de­liv­ered the big­gest win­ning mar­gin for a fi­nal game when they de­mol­ished East­ern Prov­ince 95-0 last year in Stel­len­bosch. This year, Prov­ince had a tough open­ing fix­ture against Boland and needed a strong sec­ond-half show­ing to get the bet­ter of their ri­vals 41-20. Against the Sharks, they played the best rugby of the tour­na­ment by some mar­gin.

The hosts were com­pletely out­played over the 70 min­utes. WP scored seven first-half tries and two af­ter half­time to tri­umph 60-5.

The in­ter­play be­tween for­wards and backs was of the high­est or­der and few tack­les were missed as Prov­ince rammed home the ad­van­tage. The back­line at­tacked at pace and put on a classy per­for­mance.

Credit must go the way of WP cap­tain Sal­maan Mo­erat for keep­ing his 23-man side grounded. And Prov­ince must know they have work to do to re­main un­beaten.

The Lions be­gan their cam­paign with a 59-26 win over South Western Districts be­fore de­horn­ing the Blue Bulls 41-14. The boys from Jo­han­nes­burg play a sim­i­lar brand of rugby to their se­nior coun­ter­parts, and are not far off from what WP are all about.

“It’s go­ing to be a clas­sic clash,” WP coach Elmo Wol­faardt said. “My boys have played breath­tak­ing rugga at times and pleas­ingly stuck to the game plan. We were slow out of the blocks for game one, but hit the ground run­ning two days later and flat­tened the Sharks.

“Now for the fi­nal show­down with a lot rid­ing on the out­come. We’ve had two days off and that’s a good thing be­cause hav­ing to play three games in six days is very tax­ing. I’m con­fi­dent that we can em­u­late the class of 2015.”

Full­back Gianni Lom­bard is the lead­ing points scorer for WP. The Paarl Boys’ High No 15 has scored two tries, kicked 10 con­ver­sions and com­pleted two penal­ties for a haul of 36 points. Boishaai fly­half Damian Willemse, who made the SA Schools team last year along with three team­mates, has scored two tries while set­ting up oth­ers with his off­loads and aware­ness.

SACS flank Liam Larken and pacy wing Muller du Plessis (Paarl Gim­na­sium) have also bagged two five-point­ers.

GIANNI LOM­BARD: Lead­ing scorer for WP with 36 points.

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