Province show their class in come-from-behind victory
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.
WORKHORSE: JD Schickerling of Western Province won the Man of the Match award in yesterday’s match against Griquas.