Durban - Western Province ended their 11-year
wait for a major trophy when they were crowned Currie Cup champions on
Saturday night with a battling 25-18 victory over the Sharks in Durban.
a thrilling exhibition at Kings Park, the home side largely dominated
the first half until centre Juan de Jongh’s late try - the only one of
the game - enabled the visitors to take a 16-12 advantage at the break.
appeared to shift the momentum, and after flyhalf Patrick Lambie, who
kicked all the points for the home side, briefly put his team back in
front, the outstanding Demetri Catrakilis slotted over two drop goals
that sealed a thrilling win.
Province claimed their first title since 2001 when they beat the Sharks in the domestic final in Cape Town.
was also the third straight final loss for the home side, who were
beaten in last year’s domestic showpiece and the Super Rugby decider
earlier this year.
Province took the lead inside the opening
three minutes when Springbok flanker Willem Alberts was penalised for
side entry, allowing number 10 Catrakilis to pop over the first points.
Lambie hit back for his side moments later when the visitors were punished for an accidental offside.
frantic early pace continued and it took a superb last ditch tackle
from Bryan Habana to deny JP Pietersen from scoring after Paul Jordaan
cut through and passed inside.
The hosts went ahead after 13
minutes via another Lambie penalty, awarded when a struggling Habana,
who subsequently went off injured, slowed the ball down.
then got on the front foot for the first time in the game, but
Pietersen intercepted and booted forward as the Sharks won another
Lambie extended the lead to six points midway through
the opening period, before adding another straight after a fierce scrum
by his forwards.
A Jannie du Plessis shoulder charge offered
Province a chance to stay in touch and Joe Pietersen, who replaced
Habana, knocked over a tricky kick from near the halfway line.
sparked some life into the Capetonians and they went ahead through a
converted try, scored by De Jongh after he escaped a few half-tackles,
side-stepped Lwazi Mvovo and ran in under the posts.
Catrakilis added his second penalty after the hooter had sounded to give Province a four-point advantage at the interval.
was cut to one point straight after the break, thanks to another
powerful scrum by the Sharks forwards and a fifth successful Lambie
Plumtree’s men threw everything forward for the next 10
minutes, but failed to come away with a try in the face of a dogged
They did take the lead when Province failed to
roll away and Lambie sent over a penalty, although another Catrakilis
effort shifted the advantage once again.
The young Province flyhalf then sealed the win with two drop goals as the visitors were crowned worthy winners.