Province shock the Sharks in Currie Cup

Western Province turned in their best performance of the season to score a 21-9 victory over the highly-fancied Sharks in a Currie Cup Premier Division rugby clash in Durban, on Saturday afternoon.

Province’s victory by way of a two-try to none count, was richly deserved and allowed them to displace the Sharks at the top of the Currie Cup table. Earlier this year, the Sharks were also at the losing end when they suffered a 29-15 defeat at Newlands.

Province’s early raid in the Sharks’ 22m area came to nought as a ruck infringement and a forward pass denied them a deserved advance. The visitors, however, took a sixth minute lead thanks to a Joe Pietersen penalty (3-0).

The Sharks shook off Province’s grip on the game with relieving kicks from fullback Stefan Terblanche and flyhalf Juan Hernandez. Once they managed to transfer play into the opposition half it was the Sharks’ turn to apply the pressure.

A 12th minute Sharks line-out allowed them the set up a driving maul from 15 metres out but Province did well to hold up the ball in the in-goal area.

Scrumhalf Rory Kockott landed a penalty three minutes later to level the scores at a time when the home side continued to pile on the pressure (3-3).

Province fullback Pietersen initiated a telling counter-attack from inside his own 22m when he ran ball after he had successfully called for a ‘mark’ in the 23rd minute.

After an unchallenged 25m run Pietersen fed his outside centre Juan de Jongh who wormed his way past several cover defenders to take play up to Sharks’ 22 line.

The good work was carried on by fleet-footed leftwing, Gio Aplon, who dovetailed splendidly with his pack before rightwing Tonderai Chavhanga dived over for an unconverted try to restore the lead for the visitors (8-3).

Five minutes later Province again caught the Sharks’ defence napping after a line-out, but the situation was saved when their cover defence held up Chavhanga on the tryline.

Kockott banged over a penalty a minute ahead of the break to narrow the gap for the Sharks (8-6).

Four minutes into the second half the Sharks gained the lead for the first time in the match with a drop goal by Hernandez (9-8).

As the second half wound its way, both sides tried hard to run the ball when opportunities presented itself, but handling errors thwarted potential scoring movements.

Province, however, did come good in the 56th minute with a converted try by lock Chris Jack after a fine move in which Aplon and eighthman Luke Watson were prominent in the approach work 35m out (15-9). In the passage of time that followed Province lifted their game somewhat and they looked threatening as they worked the ball through the phases on a few occasions.

However, their only reward at this stage of the match was a 65th minute Pietersen penalty, which opened a nine-point lead for Province (18-9).

The Sharks rallied hard to fight their way back into the match but could not make headway because of errors that crept into their game.

Pietersen drove the final nail in the Sharks coffin with a drop goal to round off a result that condemned the Sharks to their second defeat of the season.

Final Score Western Province 21 Sharks 9


Penalties: Rory Kockott (2).
Drop goal: Juan Hernandez

Western Province:
Tries: Tonderai Chavhanga and Chris Jack.
Conversion: Joe Pietersen.
Penalties: Joe Pietersen (2).
Drop goal: Pietersen.

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