Province earn first Currie Cup victory of the season

Western Province finally secured their first win of the 2016 Currie Cup season when they romped home 36-6 with a scrappy performance against Eastern Province Kings at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth, on Saturday afternoon.

Western Province came away with the lion’s share of first-half possession but had to settle for a mere 17-6 lead after a glut of handling errors and two disallowed tries.

EP’s defence was tested from the opening whistle and while tackling was not a strong suit WP enjoyed several strong upfield surges and eventually managed three first-half tries through leftwing Leolin Zas (11th minute), centre Huw Jones (17th) and eighthman Sikhumbuzo Notshe (40th). Flyhalf Brandon Thomson goaled one conversion.

Kobus Marais, the EP flyhalf, opened the scoring in the match with a second-minute penalty and added a second in the 31st minute. As it turned out it was the home side’s only response to the visitors’ three-try scoring effort (17-6).

Two EP players, Christiaan de Bruin (eighthman) and Etienne Oosthuizen (flank) were yellow-carded in the later stages of the first half.

There was a far better play from EP when second-half play resumed and they often followed up committed defence with counter-attacking play but the WP defence held out well to prevent them from capitalising.

Former Springbok Jano Vermaak scrumhalf eventually made the second-half breakthrough for WP when he peeled round the back of a five-metre maul and darted in for his side’s bonus-point try. Thomson added the extras to open up a 24-6 lead in the 57th minute.

Just passed the hour mark, the Kings produced a sustained spell of pressure which gave them several chances to cross WP’s tryline but stout defence saw them come away empty handed.

Jones bagged his second try in the 70th minute when he picked up a stray pass in EP’s backline and sprinted some 70 metres for his side’s fifth try, which went unconverted (29-6).

Three minutes later Jones rounded off a splendid team effort after a dominant scrum in their own half to complete his hattrick. This time, Thomson converted from in front to open up a 30-point lead (36-6).

Despite a strong finish by EP, it was WP who came closest to scoring after referee Lesego Legoete allowed four minutes of extra time.

Final Score EP Kings 6 (6) Western Province 36 (17)

Scorers

EP Kings
Penalties: Kobus Marais (2)

Western Province
Tries: Leolin Zas, Huw Jones (3), Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Jano Vermaak
Conversions: Brandon Thomson (3)

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