Du Preez keeps it to­gether to book safe pas­sage to Pretoria

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - WYNONA LOUW

I DON’T know any thriller movie that could pos­si­bly match the kind of spine-chill­ing feel­ing that Western Province and the New­lands faith­ful felt in the last few min­utes of their Cur­rie Cup bat­tle against the Boland Cav­a­liers last night.

But after 82 min­utes of an un­be­liev­ably tight en­counter, WP breathed a sigh of unimag­in­able re­lief as they pre­vailed 30- 28 to crack a semi- fi­nal spot. And that will be against the Blue Bulls at Lof­tus, by the way.

That will be no easy task, but Province can pat them­selves on the back for mak­ing the top four after a less than ideal cam­paign, with three de­feats in seven matches, one of those against the Bulls at Lof­tus.

It was all Cav­a­liers in the first quar­ter last night as they did most of the at­tack­ing, but the hosts stepped up their game to­wards the end of the first 40.

The sec­ond half pro­duced a much-im­proved ef­fort by WP, who had the up­per-hand at the scrums and li­ne­outs through­out while en­joy­ing more pos­ses­sion and ter­ri­tory in the sec­ond stanza.

To­wards the end of the match, it seemed like both sides were start­ing to un­ravel, but Province held on for the win.

There were also some stand- out in­di­vid­ual per­for­mances by the men in the streep­truie.

Robert du Preez did the ba­sics well and added a few more with lovely kicks and a promis­ing cross-kick.

Johnny Kotze daz­zled with great line-breaks, threat­en­ing run­ning and beau­ti­ful pass­ing in a Man- of- the- Match per­for­mance. Ch­es­lin Kolbe prob­a­bly looked more dan­ger­ous than he did in his last few games with en­ter­pris­ing run­ning, a good line-kick and, gen­er­ally, pin-point think­ing on at­tack.

Damian de Al­lende didn’t have the best of out­ings, though. He missed a tackle badly in the build-up to the last Cav­a­liers try, but he made a few strong runs.

Boland loose for­ward Shaun Aden­dorff was the first to cross for a try early on, and Du Preez fi­nally got Province on the score­board in the 20th minute when he built on his im­pres­sive kick­ing record this sea­son to make it 3- 7.

Scott van Breda, who had his first start this sea­son, showed some pace when he went over for WP’s first try. It started all the way back in their 22 when a per­fectly-timed pass from Kotze put Kolbe into space on his out­side, who dashed an amaz­ing line to put Van Breda away. Du Preez added the ex­tras to put Province in the lead (10-7).

Just be­fore half­time, Kobus van Dyk set­tled some nerves when he crashed over and Du Preez con­verted to stretch WP’s lead to 17-7 at the in­ter­val.

Fol­low­ing a Boland try, things turned real ugly quickly for Province when the Cav­a­liers scored another two tries in two min­utes.

The­uns Kotze, who made no mis­takes with the boot on the night, knocked over the con­ver­sion and took the score to 20-28 for Boland.

But with eight min­utes to go, Dave Rib­bons scored his first try in a Province jersey after some strong work by the for­wards.

Du Preez’s con­ver­sion was as vi­tal as ever, and he didn’t dis­ap­point as he brought his side within one point of the Cav­a­liers (27-28).

The clock ticked on. But a break­down er­ror by Boland gave WP an anx­ious shot at tak­ing the lead right in front of the posts.

Du Preez kept it to­gether as he struck it per­fectly to snatch the vic­tory and book his side’s tick­ets to Pretoria.

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