Province feeling Cavalier on top of Currie Cup

Western Province secured a 2009 Currie Cup home semifinal berth in superb fashion with an emphatic 50-7 win over neighbours Boland in the Currie Cup derby at a sun-drenched Newlands on Saturday afternoon.

 

Admittedly, the Boland side never at any stage looked like posing a threat to the vastly superior Province side, but they provided the ‘soft’ sort of opposition that was ideal preparation for the Newlands-based outfit ahead of the semifinal in a fortnight’s time.

 

Province served notice at the outset that they were there to play open rugby, and conditions at Newlands were ideal. At the end of it all, Province matched the sizzling hot weather with seven well-taken tries, against one from Boland.

 

Against a very ordinary Boland outfit Province dominated the set-pieces, and with their pack securing plenty of turn-over ball they had excellent platforms to launch their raids into the Boland 22-metre area.

 

Two converted tries from Province without reply in the first 14 minutes just about summed up their early hold on the match.

 

First captain and eighthman Luke Watson charged over after Province pulled off a driving maul from 20m out, and then hooker Tiaan Liebenberg, who had stalked into a backline position, ran like a seasoned three-quarter to score midway between the corner flag and the posts.

 

Fullback Joe Pietersen converted both and also added an 18th minute penalty to secure a commanding 17-0 lead for Province.

The home side threatened several times in the ensuing minutes and Boland were literally pinned down in their 22m area for a nine minute passage of play.

 

Eventually the Boland defence cracked after a massive scrum by Province virtually next to the opposition posts and lock Andries Bekker, seeing the Boland tryline well protected, dabbed the ball against the upright for his side’s third try.

 

Pietersen added his third conversion in the 33rd minute (24-0).

 

There were at least three more opportunities for Province to secure the bonus point try ahead of the half-time break but poor decision making saw threatening moves break down just short of the opposition try line.

 

As a result, Province had to be content with their 24-0 lead at the break. The hosts again stamped their authority on the match at the start of the second half.

 

They took the ball through several phases and showed they were quite adept at looking after their ball at the breakdown.

 

It would have, however, caused concern among Province’s coaching staff that their side were unable to find a way through the Boland defence after camping in the opposition 22m area for some 10 minutes after the restart.

 

Scrumhalf Ricky Januarie changed all that in the 53rd minute when he finally found a gap and streaked through for a converted try, which also ensured that Province would emerge with maximum points from the match (31-0).

 

Just on the hour Province went further ahead when they worked wide to the right where winger Tonderai Chavhanga wormed his way down the Railway Grandstand touchline for the side’s next advance with an unconverted try (36-0).

 

Boland finally made it on the scoreboard when right wing Deon Scholtz scored an intercept try in the 68th minute.

 

Substitute Marl Harris slotted the conversion (36-7). With the crowd of 16 000 chanting feverishly for more tries, the home side got their act together and Watson obliged with a 71st minute converted try, again after a driving maul from 15m (43-7).

 

On the stroke of time Wats

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