Cape Town - Flawless goal-kicking by flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis proved decisive as Western Province edged Golden Lions 19-16 on Saturday to win the South African Currie Cup.
As it happened: WP v Golden Lions
Catrakilis had five shots at goal and scored from them all in a thrilling final before a near-capacity crowd at the 51 000-seat Newlands stadium in Cape Town.
There was never a doubt that his four penalties were going to sail between the posts and he also converted a first-half try from centre and former Lion Jaco Taute.
But it was a vastly different evening for the two Lions goal-kickers, first choice and flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff and right-wing Ruan Combrinck.
Boshoff fluffed four of seven attempts at goal in perfect conditions and Combrinck missed one of two long-range shots.
A post-hooter penalty offered the Lions a chance to draw level and take the final into extra time, but Boshoff watched his angled kick float left and well wide.
Lions fullback Jaco van der Walt started and finished a sweeping move that provided the Johannesburg side with their lone try on 50 minutes.
Usually superb goal-kicker Boshoff converted from the touchline and kicked two penalties while Combrinck succeeded with a 50-metre penalty five minutes from time to leave three points between the sides.
But the Lions, who trailed 13-0 at half-time after committing too many unforced errors, came up just short and were left to rue those five missed kicks at goal.
Province skipper and centre Juan de Jongh said the victory atoned for last season when hot favourites Province lost the final 33-19 to the Sharks in Cape Town.
"That disappointment was still in our memory banks and we showed this evening that we have learnt the lessons and moved on.
"We vowed at half-time not too let the Lions back into the game, but the opposite happened. However, we remained calm and came back to win.
"Winning the Currie Cup is an unbelievable feeling," said De Jongh after Province took a 3-2 finals lead over the Lions in the 122-year inter-provincial competition.
Lions skipper and No 8 Warren Whiteley could not hold back the tears as he praised the champions from Cape Town for a "fantastic" performance.
"They played fantastically well and put us under a lot of pressure. We were just not good enough in the first half," he conceded.
"Our second-half improvement stemmed from more composure and taking the ball through the phases, but we could not get in front."
Province, who pocketed $175 000 for lifting the Cup a second time in three seasons, struggled at the scrums against much-vaunted Lions trio Schalk van der Merwe, hooker Robbie Coetzee and Ruan Dreyer.
But the home side won the turn-overs battle, often prevented the Lions winning quick line-out ball, and a patient, multl-phase assault by the pack created the Taute try.
Lions like centre Howard Mnisi and scrumhalf Ross Cronje, stars in the semi-final demolition of the Sharks last weekend, failed to replicate that form, making numerous handling errors.
But the battle of the boots ultimately proved decisive and Catrakilis was voted man of the match for a 14-point contribution that made him joint leading 2014 Currie Cup scorer.