Western Province crowned Currie Cup champions

Western Province were crowned Currie Cup champions for 2014 when they beat the Golden Lions 19-16 in the Currie Cup final at Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday afternoon.

The Natal Sharks won the title last season but were eliminated last week at the Semi-final stage when they were beaten 50-20 by the Lions in Johannesburg.

Golden Lions flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff had the opportunity to level the scores and take the match to extra time in the final minute but he missed the kick.

The Lions missed a total of five penalties at goal in the match.

The match produced typical cup final rugby and neither side were allowed to
run away with the game at any stage, although Province worked their way 13-0
half-time lead, as they only just survived the Lions’ second-half onslaught.

The Lions did well to equalise at 13-all, but they surrendered two penalties
midway through the second half and that proved their undoing.

True to form, Province and the Lions at the outset showed a reluctance to kick
the ball for territorial gains and instead opted to run their way out of defensive

Breakdown infringements from kickable positions offered opportunities for both
teams in the opening 13 minutes.

Demetri Catrakilis, the Province place-kicker, was on song but his opposite
number Marnitz Boshoff was uncharacteristically off-form with the boot.

Catrakilis goaled a third minute penalty and another six minutes later when
the Lions were penalised at a Province maul.

Boshoff missed a 13th minute penalty attempt, and was fractionally wide of
the mark again in the 31st minute eventhough both kicks were well within his

In between these setbacks, the Lions’ defence was stretched to the limits trying
to contain some rather adventurous play as the Province backs and forwards produced
some telling inter-plays across the width of the field.

Province made their pressure count when they found a gap in the Lions midfield
and inside centre Jaco Taute needed no invitation to streak through for the
first try of the match. Catrakilis added the conversion in the 34th minute to
give Province a 13-0 lead.

A minute ahead of the half-time break, the Lions relieved Boshoff of the placing
kicking but his stand-in Ruan Combrinck failed to make good with an attempt
from 40 metres out.

The Lions returned for the second-half with a far greater sense of urgency
and were rewarded for their efforts this time as they ran up 13 unanswered points
in only 17 minutes.

Boshoff was restored as the place-kicker and he slotted a 45th minute penalty
to open his side’s scoring in the match.

Next the Lions sprung an attack from their own half. Despite several desperate
tackles, Jaco van der Walt provided the finishing touch with a dive at the corner
flag, despite the valiant cover tackle effort from Seabelo Senatla.

Boshoff was successful with his touchline conversion in the 52nd minute.

With Province still not able to exit their half, they suffered another setback
after a 57th minute penalty and Boshoff had the easiest of kicks to level the
score at 13 points apiece.

Province staged a fightback without really threatening, but there was consolation
for taking play into the Lions half in the ensuing minutes when they were awarded
two penalties, mainly as a result of pressure at breakdown play.

Catrakilis was on target each time and with 17 minutes play left, Province
were ahead by six points at 19-13.

With time running out, the Lions mounted one last desperate challenge with
several ball-in-hand surges into the Province half but they were held in check
by near faultless defence. As their efforts continued to fail, their patience
ran out and their lack of composure cost them mome

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