Province top Currie Cup again after Sharks victory

Western Province took back the top spot and remained unbeaten in the Currie Cup when they beat the Sharks 25-19 at Newlands on Saturday.

Province outplayed the Sharks in all departments in the encounter, but were
left to rue crucial knock-ons which denied them a fourth try late in the game.

The hosts produced a top performance in the opening minutes as their dashing
ball-in-hand forays into Sharks territory took the visitors by surprise.

The effort should have fired Province into a 10-point lead after four minutes,
but a try by leftwing Cheslin Kolbe’s was disallowed after TV replay footage
showed his foot brushed the touchline in the try-scoring process, while he was
rushed by the Sharks’ cover defence.

Instead WP had to settle for slim pickings via a second-minute Kurt Coleman
penalty.

But WP came good 13 minutes later when Juan de Jongh dotted down, and this
time the TMO could not find fault with the effort. Coleman’s was unable to extend
his side’s lead further with the attempted conversion.

The 19000-strong crowd in the chilly stadium warmed to the fare as WP continued
to run to ball at almost every opportunity to sustain the pressure on the Sharks.

Kolbe’s second try-scoring effort in the 22nd minute was legitimate, and this
time Coleman slotted his goal attempt to give WP a 15-0 lead.

Two minutes after the interval, Coleman increased WP’s lead with a penalty
as the home side were again off to a spirited start as the Sharks found themselves
under the whip for a period of 15 minutes.

They managed to absorb the pressure by keeping their defensive lines intact
and they fought back with an unconverted Lwazi Mvovo try in the 57th minute.

Just before the hour mark, fullback Gio Aplon tip-toed his way through the
Sharks defence, leaving some four defenders floundering in his slipstream before
he ran in to score next to the posts. Substitute flyhalf Gary van Aswegen goaled
to give WP a commanding 25-5 lead.

The Sharks found their way into the game, while the hosts struggled to regain
control.

The Sharks used the opportunity to drive up the middle and finish with a try
from Jacques Botes, and substitute Fred Zeilinga rounded off the seven-point
spurt.

It was all WP in the closing minutes as they went off in search of a bonus-point
try but their best efforts were undone by their own shortcomings.

Against the run of play, two minutes after the hooter sounded, Sharks substitute
Kyle Cooper scored a converted try which allowed the KZN visitors to snatch
a bonus point.

Final Score Western Province 25 (15) Natal Sharks 19 (0)

Scorers

Western Province
Tries: Juan de Jongh, Cheslin Kolbe, Gio Aplon
Conversions: Kurt Coleman, Gary van Aswegen
Penalty: Coleman (2)

Sharks
Tries: Lwazi Mvovo, Kyle Cooper, Jacques Botes.
Conversions: Fred Zeilinga (2).

Match Officials
Referee:
Craig Joubert
Assistant Referees: Marius van der Westhuizen and Marc van Zyl
TMO: Deon van Blommestein

Teams

Western Province: Gio Aplon; Gerhard van den Heever, Juan de Jongh, Damian de Allende, Cheslin Kolbe; Kurt Coleman, Louis Schreuder; Nizaam Carr, Rynhardt Elstadt, Deon Fourie (capt); De Kock Steenkamp, Michael Rhodes; Pat Cilliers, Tiaan Liebenberg, Steven Kitshoff.

Replacements: Scarra Ntubeni, Brok Harris, Gerbrandt Grobler, Rohan Kitshoff, Nic Groom, Gary van Aswegen, Michael van der Spuy.

The Sharks: SP Marais; Sizo Maseko, Louis Ludik, Tim Whitehead, Lwazi Mvovo; Butch James, Cobus Reinach; Jacques Botes (capt), Jean Deysel, Keegan Daniel; Marco Wentzel, P

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