Du Preez keeps it together to book safe passage to Pretoria
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.