Elmo’s boys ready for their final showdown with Lions
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.