Province edge out Griquas
Western Province beat a very competitive Griquas team 20-19 on a typically dry and hard surface in Kimberly.
Griquas came out of the blocks firing and had a chance to open the scoring, but Nico Scheepers missed his first kick of the match on the three minute mark.
Deon Fourie brought the game to life when he scored a 60 metre break-away try down the blind side. It will definitely be a talking point, because it looked as if Fourie dropped the ball before making the line. The try however, was awarded by Sindile Mayende and Coleman converted from the touchline to make the score 7-0.
Scheepers registered his first points of the match in the 15th minute when he kicked a penalty after a scrum infringement, narrowing the lead to 7-3.
A decisive moment came half-way through the first half when Western Province decided to turn down two kickable opportunities and back their line-out drive. The men from Kimberly defended manfully and after a sustained period of attack, Griquas cleared their lines without conceding a single point.
The hosts took confidence from their defensive effort and tested the Western Province defense for the majority of the second quarter.
When Province eventually did get their hands back on the ball, they won a soft penalty for a defender not rolling away. This time they decided to have a shot at goal. Coleman nailed it, giving the visitors a 10-3 lead at half time.
Griquas won a penalty early in the second half as struggled to clear their lines after the restart. Scheepers made no mistake off the tee and the 10-6 was a fair reflection of the match after 45 minutes.
Coleman and Scheepers exchanged penalties and with 20 minutes remaining it was anybodies game, with the scoreboard reading 13-9.
Scarra Ntubeni struggled with his throwing and as a result the Western Province line-out didn't function efficiently. The scrums were also a lottery with Griquas slightly edging that battle, meaning that the visitors were forced to attacks almost exclusively from turnover ball.
In the 65th minute Tiaan Liebenberg made a valuable breakdown turnover, which Rynhardt Elstardt had the vision to kick into space. Juan de Jongh won the race for the loose ball and scored the try that effectively sealed the victory. Coleman converted from a handy position and the lead was 20-9.
Griquas are a proud team and they never gave up. They kicked a penalty with 10 minutes remaining and then scored a try after the hooter, through PJ Vermeulen, to secure the home side a losing bonus point. Gerber kicked the conversion but it counted for very little, as the men from the Cape claimed a valuable away victory.
Try: PJ Vermeulen
Pen: Scheepers 4
For Western Province:
Try: Fourie, de Jongh
Con: Coleman 2
Pen: Coleman 2
Griquas: 15 PJ Vermeulen, 14 Nico Scheepers, 13 JP Nel, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Rocco Jansen, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Marnus Hugo, 8 Leon Karemaker, 7 Hilton Lobberts, 6 Carel Greeff, 5 Jaco Nepgen, 4 Jonathan Adendorf,3 Nick Schonert, 2 Ryno Barnes (c), 1 Steph Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Matt Dobson, 17 Brummer Badenhorst, 18 RJ Liebenberg, 19 Burger Schoeman, 20 Jacques Coetzee, 21 Du Randt Gerber, 22 Richard Lawson.
Western Province: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Kurt Coleman, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Deon Fourie (c), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Michael Rhodes, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Gerbrandt Grobler, 19 Rohan Kitshoff, 20 Nic Groom, 21 Tim Swiel, 22 Ryan Nell.
Referee: Sindile Mayende