WP boys skin Cheetahs for a place in showpiece
WESTERN PROVINCE’S Under-19 and U21 teams will play in provincial finals next weekend after securing victories over their Free State counterparts at City Park yesterday.
The U19s comfortably won 30-20, before the U21s clinched a hard-fought 26-23 victory.
The U21s are the defending champions and are through to their fifth consecutive final, with their opposition and venue to be determined today, same applies to the U19s.
Province used a numerical advantage to score two tries after the boys from Bloemfontein had a player yellow-carded in each half.
It was tight early on with both sides cancelling each other out with two penalties apiece. A counter-attack from the visitors from deep inside their half reaped rewards when right wing Carl-Jan Coetzee dotted down under the posts. Flyhalf Heinrich Bitzi added the extras.
WP were quick to draw level through Sibahle Maxwane’s touchdown after scrumhalf Justin Phillips’ clever line-break from an attacking ruck.
Fullback Grant Hermanus made no mistake with the touchline conversion into a slight crosswind.
The visitors were reduced to 14 when flank Daniel Maartens was pinged for repeated infringements at the breakdown.
Another strong run from Phillips and one from Jacques Vermeulen saw the ball worked wide and hooker Percy Mngadi was on hand to dive over from close range for an 18-13 lead.
Free State scored 10-unanswered points with Maartens making up for his transgression by getting a five-pointer, converted by Bitzi who then nailed a third penalty to put his side 23-18 ahead at the break.
WP scored eight unanswered points after the restart. Hermanus struck a penalty and converted Jaco Coetzee’s try. Province’s U19s had it much easier. The visitors held their own for the first quarter and were first to put points on the board via a penalty from flyhalf Justin Taylor.
WP hit back with try-scoring machine Juarno Augustus getting a brace before halftime, taking his season tally to 11 (halftime 12-3). Scrumhalf Jondre Williams then made it 15-3 with a penalty, but Free State responded with a try as centre Kurt Eybers collected a chip kick to make it 15-8.
Province’s final two tries were scored by centres David Brits and Cornel Smit.
The visitors managed a late consolation try from left wing Marnus Boshoff, but it was not enough to avoid defeat. – Mike de Bruyn