Prov­ince show their class in come-from-be­hind vic­tory

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - SPORT - WYNONA LOUW

Western Prov­ince (24) 55 Gri­quas (13) 27

AT New­lands last night, Western Prov­ince didn’t just man­age to se­cure the vic­tory in a must-win match against Gri­quas – they also made it a con­vinc­ing one to move closer to se­cur­ing a home Cur­rie Cup semi-fi­nal.

WP ran in eight tries to Gri­quas’ two in an ex­cit­ing en­counter, and al­though they were un­der pres­sure early on when Gri­quas took a 13-3 lead, WP showed their class and took full con­trol in the sec­ond half to avenge the shock 44-34 de­feat in Kim­ber­ley ear­lier this sea­son.

The vic­tory sees WP move up to third on the log – three points be­hind the Free State Chee­tahs.

At the team an­nounce­ment on Thurs­day, WP skip­per Chris van Zyl said they put a lot of work into their scrum­mag­ing in the build-up to the match, and the lock also said he was hop­ing for some re­ward for all their ef­forts when they packed down against Gri­quas. And they cer­tainly got that re­ward.

Prov­ince’s scrum has been one of their best-func­tion­ing ar­eas this sea­son, and yes­ter­day they pro­duced a few pow­er­ful scrum­mag­ing shows again.

But WP can be happy with more than just their work at the set-piece.

The hosts were tight on de­fence, their driv­ing maul func­tioned well and they got two well-de­served tries af­ter a few pow­er­ful shoves, and there was also a lot in open play that WP coach John Dob­son can be pleased with.

Ear­lier this week, both Dob­son and Van Zyl said that they were ex­pect­ing Gri­quas to play wide-wide, but it was the hosts who de­serves praise for what how they ex­e­cuted that at­tack­ing tech­nique.

And in the er­ror depart­ment, it wasn’t WP ver­sus Pumas Part Two, not any­where close, but Prov­ince did con­cede a few penal­ties, al­though it couldn’t be put down to poor han­dling.

And as ex­pected in a game like this, there were also a num­ber of in­di­vid­ual play­ers who stood out.

Lock JD Schick­er­ling bagged the Man of the Match award for his work­horse per­for­mance, while wing Werner Kok was a men­ace for the op­po­si­tion with his huge work on de­fence and his sharp run­ning lines that led to his brace of tries (which could have been a hat-trick, but the speed­ster gifted the ball to re­place­ment for­ward Jo­han du Toit to dot down).

I also think it’s safe to say a few Gri­quas play­ers will re­mem­ber how Kok’s fend and hard run­ning ways eas­ily shifted them out of his way, the next time they come up against the Cape side.

Full­back Dil­lyn Leyds’ per­for­mance should have also done enough to show Spring­bok coach Al­lis­ter Coet­zee that he has that X-fac­tor that seems to be se­ri­ously lack­ing in the Bok back­line, and out­side cen­tre Ruhan Nel – who was a late re­place­ment for Scot­land in­ter­na­tional Huw Jones – again showed the value that Sev­ens re­cruits can add to the 15-man game.

It was also a pleas­ing af­ter­noon for some of Prov­ince’s play­ers who don’t nor­mally get a lot of game time, like Cur­rie Cup new­bie and re­place­ment hooker Dean Muir and re­place­ment prop Caylib Oosthuizen.

Muir got his first Cur­rie Cup try, while Oosthuizen’s post-try smile showed just how much get­ting a brace in the blue and white hoops meant to him.

Prov­ince next face the Blue Bulls in Pre­to­ria, be­fore they travel to Jo­han­nes­burg and Dur­ban for their last two round-robin games against the Golden Lions and the Sharks.

BACKPAGEPIX

WORK­HORSE: JD Schick­er­ling of Western Prov­ince won the Man of the Match award in yes­ter­day’s match against Gri­quas.

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