WP beat Sharks
Reuben Johannes scored the only try as the DHL Western Province climbed to second on the Vodacom Cup South Section log with a hard-fought 17-15 (halftime 6-3) victory over the Sharks XV at Mr Price Kings Park in Durban on Saturday.
There was plenty of hype ahead of the game after both sides won their opening matches of the campaign last weekend with the hosts thrashing the Border Bulldogs 42-0 and Province easing to a 51-22 win over the Regent Boland Kavaliers.
However, that hype proved premature as the two struggled to get out of first gear with the visitors eventually labouring to an unconvincing win.
Early on Province were penalised for off-side and Gouws Prinsloo had no problem slotting over his second attempt after his previous attempt that was awarded for off-side.
Demetri Catrakilis responded for the visitors when he converted a penalty in the 12th minute after the Sharks were caught not rolling away at a ruck.
The first try almost arrived shortly before the end of the first quarter when Kurt Coleman failed to deal convincingly with a high ball, but chasers Paul Jordaan and Fred Zeilinga failed to collect with Catrakilis cleaning up.
The home side, with a heavy breeze behind them, had further chances through Lubabalo Mtembu and Prinsloo, but both knocked on in crucial positions as the pressure on the Capetonians continued to come.
But Province withstood all that pressure and were rewarded just after the halftime siren with another penalty, which Catrakilis converted to edge his side in front.
Straight after the restart, the Province No 10 extended the advantage with a clever drop-goal, before Prinsloo landed another penalty when Sidney Tobias was punished for illegal scrumming.
In the 54th minute, Reuben Johannes was denied a try after some desperate defending by Francois Kleinhans, but there was no denying the flanker 120 seconds later when he picked up at the base of a ruck and drove over powerfully.
Catrakilis missed the conversion and then watched as Prinsloo again cut the deficit to keep the home side in the game.
The two exchanged further penalties to make it a five-point ball game with 17 minutes to play.
Prinsloo’s brave 50-metre-plus kick at goal into the wind faded to the left as the sides entered the final 10 minutes, although the Sharks fullback successfully slotted over moments later, cutting the gap to two.
But it proved the final score of the game with the visitors holding on.
Sharks XV 15 – Penalties: Gouws Prinsloo (5).
DHL Western Province 17 – Try: Reuben Johannes. Penalties: Demetri Catrakilis (3). Drop goal: Catrakilis.