Six-try WP back in race
DHL Western Province got back on their bike and regained the momentum they lost in Durban last week by scoring an emphatic 45-21 win over GWK Griquas that momentarily put them back into a three-way tie at the top of the Absa
Currie Cup log on Saturday.
It was the second successive match at Newlands where WP picked up a four-try bonus point, something they managed for the first time in the season
in their last game here at the DHL Newlands Stadium in Cape Town against the Blue Bulls three weeks ago. They had
managed the bonus point in this game before half-time, with skipper Deon
Fourie notching the fourth off a driving maul from a lineout one minute
before the break.
WP led 31-7 at half-time, and never had their lead threatened once Gerhard
van den Heever had scored the first of two intercept tries for the home
team that were scored in the first half. In that sense Griquas were
reminded that there are still many occasions in rugby where it doesn’t pay
to be the team that enjoys most of the possession.
The visitors maintained the high tempo, busy approach that has seen them
slay three giants in successive weeks, and they certainly had enough ball
to make an impression during the first half. The only problem was that by
the end of that opening 40 minutes it was Western Province who had
reversed the trend of Griquas’ game against Bulls last week.
It wasn’t just rugby suicide though that presented WP with points, for
the second intercept try, which was scored by centre Marcel Brache, was
the product of excellent pressure from the hosts, with Scarra Ntubeni
pulling off a strong tackle on Griquas fullback Willie le Roux that
forced the poor pass that Brache capitalised on.
Hooker Ntubeni was in fact the unsung hero of the WP effort, and it was
fitting that he should be up to grab a ball that bounced following a high
kick halfway through the second half to score a highly popular try in the
corner. It was WP’s first try after half-time, but their fifth in all, and
by then Griquas were well out of the contest.
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They were still well in the game though when they gave away the first
intercept try in the 17th minute, this time centre Walter Venter being the
man who erred with a misdirected pass that Van den Heever grabbed and,
like Brache, ran more than half the length of the field to score.
Griquas had done well to fight back to 7-all just before that point
through a good try to flanker Marnus Schoeman, who went straight through
the WP defence from a loose scrum in front of their posts. WP had started
the scoring with a Joe Pietersen try in the left corner that was the
product of some smart work from scrumhalf Louis Schreuder, who took a
quick tap to create the opportunity in the fourth minute.
Pietersen was later on target with a long-range penalty to make it 17-7,
and the fourth try, the one that secured them their second bonus point of
the year, came off one of those typically irrepressible WP driving mauls
off a lineout near the left corner flag. Skipper Deon Fourie was the man to
touch down with a minute left until the break.
It was a good allround performance from Province but there are some
concerns, not the least of them being the scrum that continues to battle.
It was most noticeable in a period of play a quarter of an hour into the
second half, with the WP scrum just disintegrating near their own line
soon after replacements Deon Carstens and Brok Harris had come onto the
Referee Stuart Berry had no option but to award a penalty try as the WP
scrum had crabbed across to block Griquas as the visitors were pushing over.
Unlike last week in Durban, this time Province didn’t have the excuse of
being down to only a five man scrum.
Western Province 45 – Tries: Joe Pietersen, Gerhard van den Heever, Marcel
Brache, Deon Fourie, Scarra Ntubeni and Jebb Sinclair; Conversions:
Demetri Catrakilis 6; Penalty: Joe Pietersen.
Griquas 21 – Tries: Marnus
Schoeman and Rocco Jansen; Penalty try; Conversions: Francois Brummer 2 and Marnitz Boshoff.