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Rugby | SuperSport Challenge

2017 SuperSport Rugby Challenge Winners, Western Province © BackpagePix

WP take Rugby Challenge crown

DHL Western Province became the inaugural champions of the SuperSport Rugby Challenge with a 28-19 win (halftime 28-0) over the Tafel Lager Griquas at the Florida Park Sports Ground in Cape Town on Sunday.

A superb display of tactical dominance saw Western Province control the match thanks in large to their four-try feast in the opening half.

Western Province shifted the ball with ease in the first half, manipulating the space and capitalising on scoring opportunities to take a 28-0 halftime lead - an advantage they would not relinquish at any stage in the game.

Springbok winger Bjorn Basson claimed the match's first score in the 10th minute of the game, almost running clean over referee Egon Seconds in the process of scoring. Kurt Coleman was successful with the conversion as Province took a 7-0 lead early on.

Not long after, it was Province's other wing, Marcello Sampson, who got his name onto the score sheet, as he ghosted around Koch Marx down the right hand touchline off the back of a smart Craig Barry offload.

Barry was involved in an assist once more as he broke the line, before feeding prop Michael Kumbirai on his inside. The front ranker displayed a deft touch of skill as he offloaded to Jurie van Vuuren through the tackle, with the big lock crashing over for the third try.

Sharp awareness from Brandon Thomson created Province's fourth try in the 32nd minute as he hacked ahead into vacant space behind the Griquas defence. Sampson sprinted clear of the defenders to gather the bouncing ball and cantered over for his second of the match.

Coleman was successful with all four conversions as Province took a handy 28-0 lead into the sheds.

To their credit, Griquas came out firing in the second half and almost pulled off the spectacular.

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JD Schickerling was yellow carded for not retreating 10 metres off a penalty and the resultant numerical advantage was turned to points by Griquas after a sustained period of attack on the Province line. Replacement prop Nicolaas Oosthuizen earning the glory as he dived over from close to a ruck.

Moments later, Griquas cashed in once more as Koch Marx displayed excellent handling skills to catch an offload with his fingertips from centre partner Tertius Kruger before diving over the chalk.

Crucially, Marx's score to the right of the posts was missed by replacement flyhalf Andre Swarts, as Province led 28-12 heading into the final quarter of the match.

Griquas did enjoy the lion's share of possession in the late stages, but Province's tactical nous kept the visitors pinned back in their own territory.

Kruger turned from provider to scorer in the 79th minute as he darted over for Griquas' third score, in spite of some protests of obstruction from the opposition. However, the TMO overruled Province's cries for foul play and the try stood.

Unfortunately it was too little too late for Griquas as Western Province's superb first-half display secured the title.

28-19 is how it finished, with the men in blue and white hoops having their name etched on the SuperSport Rugby Challenge trophy for the first time.


Western Province - Tries: Bjorn Basson, Marcello Sampson (2), Jurie van Vuuren; Cons: Kurt Coleman (4).

Griquas - Tries: Nicolaas Oosthuizen, Koch Marx, Tertius Kruger; Cons: Andre Swarts.


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