Cape Town - Western Province, the reigning Currie Cup champions, were held to an
exciting 24-all draw against the Blue Bulls at Newlands on Saturday evening.
WP produced an adventurous first-half display which saw them score twice in
the opening 20 minutes. Their team struck up excellent cohesion, resulting in
fine inter-play between backs and forwards.
The Bulls, however, produced excellent passages of play in the second half,
especially at the death when they denied the hosts a near-certain win.
VIDEO: WP v Blue Bulls, highlights
The Bulls' early sortie into Western Province's half was cut short after
they were penalised twice in the opening four minutes for scrum infringements.
WP used the advantage to transfer play into their opponents' 22m area, where
they looked full of running and purpose. Their fullback Gio Aplon opened the
scoring in the match with a ninth minute try, which was converted by flyhalf
Gary van Aswegen (7-0).
Just after Bulls flyhalf Tony Jantjies struck a penalty, there was more of
the same from WP, with Patrick Howard scoring - this time with a converted try
in the 20th minute (14-3).
Jantjies reduced the deficit, in the 20th minute, with a second penalty at a
time when the Bulls staged a promising fightback (14-6).
However, once WP absorbed the pressure, the Bulls were again under the cosh
as the half-time break loomed. WP probably left two tries out on the Newlands
turf by the time they retreated to the change-rooms.
The Bulls were vastly transformed when they returned from the break as they
made all the play in the opening 10 minutes.
Their sustained pressure was easily worth a try but they spoilt their best
effort with a forward pass with the tryline at their mercy. There was a
consolation prize, however, as Jantjies goaled a third penalty from close-range
The minor setback, which reduced the lead to five points, stung WP into
attacking mode and they pulled off a series of moves which earned the hosts
their third converted try. Flank Nizaam Carr stalked into the backline before
streaking past the Bulls' defence to score next to the posts just on the hour
The Bulls stormed back and managed to pin WP down in their 22m area where
the home side's defence had remained rock solid, until they allowed centre
Francois Venter to streak in at the corner for his team's first try in the 67th
minute. Jantjies converted splendidly from the corner (21-16).
In the final 10 minutes of play, Jantjies had two penalty strikes, one of
which he made good and with four minutes of play left, the result was balanced
on a knife edge (21-19).
Van Aswegen seemed to put the result beyond doubt with a penalty until
Bulls' substitute Jean Cook superbly rounded off a counter-attack with a try in
the corner (24-24).
Jantjies had the chance to snatch a win for the visitors but he missed the
WP had one last attacking opportunity but couldn't force a penalty in a game
they will be left wondering how they didn't bag a victory.
Tries: Gio Aplon, Pat Howard, Nizaam Carr
Conversions: Gary van Aswegen (4)
Tries: Francois Venter, Jean Cook
Conversion: Tony Jantjies
Penalties: Jantjies (4)
15 Gio Aplon, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Pat Howard, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Gary van Aswegen, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Deon Fourie (captain), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Gerbrandt Grobler, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff
Substitutes: 16 Alistair Vermaak, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Michael Rhodes, 19 Ruan Kitshoff, 20 Nic Groom, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 Berton Klaasen
15 Jürgen Visser, 14 Sampie Mastriet, 13 Ulrich Beyers, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Travis Ismaiel, 10 Tony Jantjies, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Jono Ross (captain), 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Wiaan Liebenberg, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Frik Kirsten, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Morné Mellet.
Substitutes: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Marcell van der Merwe, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 Jean Cook, 20 Ruan Snyman, 21 Waylon Murray, 22 Clayton Blommetjies