WP back to winning ways
Western Province returned to winning ways in the Currie Cup Premier Division with a 59-17 (halftime 26-10) win over the Leopards at Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday.
It was WP’s first win in four starts, following three consecutive defeats at the hands of the Sharks, Cheetahs and Lions.
The Streeptruie scored nine tries and while it was not a perfect performance by any stretch, it was enough to ensure that Allister Coetzee’s men finish the weekend second on the log.
WP move to 33 points, eight adrift of the Sharks but crucially one ahead of the Free State Cheetahs, who beat the Blue Bulls in Saturday’s other late kick-off, and three ahead of the ever-improving Lions.
For the Leopards, their miserable season continued despite their never-say-die attitude. This was their 10th loss out of 10 and that perfect record – for all the wrong reasons – is enough to ensure that they will have to fight for their Premier Division survival, most likely against the EP Kings or SWD Eagles in the season-ending promotion-relegation matches.
The Leopards started well and opened the scoring with less than 10 minutes gone when flyhalf Clayton Durand slotted a penalty.
But WP pulled themselves together to score four tries before halftime, all of them to forwards, to put the match out of reach of the visitors.
Hooker Deon Fourie, opensider Francois Louw, prop Brok Harris and blindside flank Nick Koster all dotted down, while new flyhalf Lionel Cronjé succeeded with three conversions to keep the scoreboard ticking.
RW Kember got one back for the Leopards before the break when he cut inside Cronjé’s defensive channel from a lineout to dive over without a hand being laid on him.
Scrumhalf Theo van Wyk then scored for the visitors soon after the break to keep them in the hunt, but WP, despite not firing on all cylinders, did enough to pull away with another five tries.
Not that it would have made any difference to the final result, but Leopards replacement hooker Gavin Williamson was dismissed by referee Pro Legoete midway through the half, which only made the home team’s task that much easier.
With Williamson off, WP notched up three more tries, to replacement flanker Yaya Hartzenberg, skipper Anton van Zyl and Bok centre Juan de Jongh, although a number of unforced errors made this a far from perfect performance.
Still, 50 points are 50 points, and coach Coetzee and his men will go into Friday night’s match in Witbank against the Pumas safe in the knowledge that their quest to win the Currie Cup for the first time since 2001 is back on track.
WP 59 – Tries: Deon Fourie, Francois Louw (2), Brok Harris, Nick Koster, Dewaldt Duvenage, Yaya Hartzenberg, Anton van Zyl, Juan de Jongh. Conversions: Lionel Cronjé (4), Willem de Waal (3).
Leopards 17 – Tries: RW Kember, Theo van Wyk. Conversions: Clayton Durand (2). Penalty: Durand.