Sunday Times

WP, Sharks serve up hors d’oeu­vres

- By CRAIG RAY at New­lands Sports · Rugby · Rugby Union · Natal Sharks · Western Province · Western Province · Sharks · Dan du Preez · Curwin Bosch · Table Mountain · Sergeal Petersen · SP Marais · JJ Engelbrecht · Tyler Paul · Dillyn Leyds

● Western Prov­ince shrugged off a poor start to re­main the only un­beaten team in the Cur­rie Cup and se­cure a home semi­fi­nal by beat­ing the Sharks 50-28 (half­time 31-21) yes­ter­day.

The two best sides in the com­pe­ti­tion lived up to the billing. Bar­ring a ma­jor up­set, it was also a cur­tain-raiser for next month’s fi­nal at the same venue.

The Sharks blew sev­eral try-scor­ing chances with cen­tre Mar­ius Louw, who oth­er­wise had an ex­cel­lent out­ing, and scrumhalf Cameron Wright both knock­ing on with a clear run to the WP line.

But WP de­served the win for their abil­ity to turn pres­sure into points with bet­ter op­tion tak­ing and fewer mis­takes.

Louw scored 56 sec­onds in af­ter an aim­less clear­ance from WP fly­half Josh Stander al­lowed vis­it­ing full­back Cur­win Bosch to carve space for his sup­port run­ners.

WP took con­trol for the next 30 min­utes with a stag­ger­ing display of at­tack­ing rugby that left the Sharks reel­ing, but not beaten.

Four WP tries and a penalty fol­lowed Louw’s score to put the home team into a 317 lead and seem­ingly over Ta­ble Moun­tain and out of sight.

WP penal­ties

But the Sharks stayed in con­tact when they man­aged to se­cure some pos­ses­sion 10 min­utes be­fore the break and put pres­sure on the home team’s line.

A slew of WP penal­ties fur­ther added to the pres­sure and even­tu­ally the Sharks scored through flank Tyler Paul and af­ter the half­time hooter through lock Gideon Koege­len­berg. It left them only 10 points adrift.

WP’s for­wards had the edge with im­pres­sive No 8 Jaco Coet­zee prom­i­nent in at­tack and tight­head prop Michael Kumbi­rai catch­ing the eye with his work rate.

Coet­zee was only in the fray af­ter reg­u­lar No 8 Juarno Au­gus­tus pulled out be­fore kick­off with a calf strain that will side­line him for sev­eral weeks. WP will hope Au­gus­tus doesn’t miss the semi­fi­nal, but at least coach John Dobson will know that Coet­zee is a more than able re­place­ment.

For WP full­back Dil­lyn Leyds, wing Sergeal Petersen and cen­tre Ruhan Nel scored fine tries with SP Marais demon­strat­ing his knack of break­ing tack­les to set up team­mates.

He con­trib­uted 20 points from six con­ver­sions, a try and a penalty.

Petersen’s try was a won­der­ful solo ef­fort. He skinned Bosch on the out­side and Leyds ran a lovely an­gle on to a Ernst van Rhyn pass for his score. Bosch also gave a strong per­for­mance and con­stantly ghosted into space to cre­ate chances for hun­gry sup­port staff such as Louw and No 8 Dan du Preez.

Marais crashed over with help from lock Sal­maan Mo­erat in the 65th minute. Min­utes later Marais in­ter­cepted and set wing JJ En­gel­brecht free for WP’s sixth try that set­tled the con­test and per­haps the venue of the Cur­rie Cup fi­nal.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa