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Rugby | Currie Cup

Nine-try WP thrash Free State



DHL Western Province scored nine tries to two in thrashing Toyota Free State Cheetahs 57-14 (halftime 36-0) in their Currie Cup Premier Division rugby fixture at DHL Newlands, Cape Town, on Saturday.

It was a superb display by the home team as they outplayed their opponents in all departments while thrilling the Newlands faithful.

Both teams were chasing victories after suffering losses last weekend and WP’s form against Free State had not been great in recent fixtures.

But the visitors were missing their leading squad members who were due to be on PRO14 duty in Limerick later in the day and their absence would prove telling.

Western Province had also played decently in Cape Town this season and that form shone through delightfully again on Saturday.

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They dominated the early tight exchanges and struck early when hooker Ramone Samuels juggled the ball successfully to crash over in the corner in the seventh minute. Talented flyhalf Damian Willemse made sure of the conversion.

It was not long before debutant fullback Craig Barry displayed a clean pair of heels to score his team’s second try with Willemse again slotting a difficult conversion from the touchline.

Shell-shocked from the early blitzkrieg, the Cheetahs resorted to what they know best, and that was to try and attack.

But their cavalier approach cost them as WP flank Jaco Coetzee pounced on turnover ball and ran home untouched to score try No 3. Willemse was again on target and the home team rattled up a 21-0 lead through 18 minutes.

Western Province were now rampant and some fantastic running, handling and support play saw lock JD Schickerling round off a fine team try to secure the bonus point try two minutes later.

Centre Huw Jones then exposed Free State’s defensive frailties even further when he outran the opposition to dot down the fifth score. It was half-a-dozen as prop Wilco Louw crashed over before halftime.

Free State Cheetahs came out of the after the break and presented a better defensive line for the opening 10 minutes but Western Province eventually breached that barrier as hooker Samuels scored his second of the afternoon. Replacement flyhalf Robert du Preez added the two points from the kicking tee.

Western Province racked up the half century in the 64th minute as Coetzee burrowed over for another try and Du Preez again converted.

With 10 minutes remaining, there was no relenting and substitute Sikhumbuzo Notshe was the beneficiary of a strong home team scrum during which he controlled the ball and picked up to score.

The visitors eventually got on the scoreboard with seven minutes to go when replacement Daniel Maartens scored from a turnover ball for flyhalf Ernst Stapelberg to convert. Stapelberg would also succeed with the conversion of Marnus van der Merwe’s try at the death.

SCORERS

WP – Tries: Ramone Samuels (2), Craig Barry, JD Schickerling, Huw Jones, Wilco Louw, Jaco Coetzee (2), Sikhumbuzo Notshe; Conversions: Damian Willemse (3), Robert du Preez (3)

Free State Cheetahs – Tries: Daniel Maartens, Marnus van der Merwe; Conversions: Ernst Stapelberg (2)



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