Pretoria - Two tries within five minutes gave Western Province a
crucial 23-18 victory over the Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria
on Saturday to cement their place at the top of the Currie Cup log.
An action-packed first half strangely produced only three points as the two sides played positive rugby from the outset.
Uncharacteristically there was also less kicking from
the hosts as they opted to attack the line with the quick ball they
The scrums were also a tightly contested affair, with the Bulls showing much improvement in this facet of play.
While the Bulls showed a willingness to keep the ball
in hand, Western Province's typical strong defence held over the first
Demonstrating that their game has progressed from a
defence-minded to a more balanced style, Province made a number of
The first points of the match came shortly after the
half-hour mark when replacement Province flyhalf Kurt Coleman slotted a
Blue Bulls debutant Joshua Stander had an opportunity
to level the scores three minutes from the interval but his shot in
front of the poles was off-target.
The match finally produced some exciting tries after
the half-time break after Province pivot Demetri Catrakilis had
converted a penalty in the 46th minute.
The Bulls finally found the breakthrough two minutes
later when blindside flanker Jacques du Plessis finished a move to
score, with Stander converting. A Jesse Kriel pass to Sampie Mastriet
had seemed forward but was adjudged to be fine.
Stander's replacement, Tian Schoeman, extended the Bulls' lead in the 54th minute to four points.
Instead of building on the positive momentum they had
created when they had the ball in hand, the Bulls seemed to employ a
This backfired on them as Province's dangerous outside
backs sliced through the Bulls' defences to swing the momentum in their
In the 56th minute, Western Province wing Kobus van Wyk
finished off a set move as his fellow flyer and man of the match
Seabelo Senatla stepped past the Bulls' defence to send the former away,
with Catrakilis converting (13-10).
Three minutes later, the blue-and-white hoops again
crossed the whitewash with Senatla leaving a few Bulls' defenders in his
wake en route to a fantastic individual try.
With 12 minutes left Schoeman close the gap with a penalty conversion, only to see Coleman returning their lead to 10 points.
The Bulls made a last-gasp attempt to claim the victory
when they opted for a lineout penalty, which paid off as Mastriet
powered his way over the line on the other side of the field.
With the clock winding down, the Bulls made an
encouraging attack on the line, but a knock-on by William-Small Smith in
the danger zone brought the match to an end.
Blue Bulls - 18 (0): Tries: Jacques du Plessis, Sampie Mastriet; Conversions: Joshua Stander; Penalties: Tian Schoeman.
Western Province - 23 (3): Tries: Kobus van Wyk, Seabelo Senatla; Conversions: Demetri Catrakilis (2); Penalties: Kurt Coleman (2), Dimitri Catrakilis.
15 Jesse Kriel, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 William Small-Smith, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Sampie Mastriet, 10 Joshua Stander, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Jono Ross, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Deon Stegmann (captain), 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Hencus van Wyk, 18 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 19 Jacques Engelbrecht, 20 Rudy Paige, 21 Tian Schoeman, 22 Ryan Nell
15. Cheslin Kolbe, 14. Kobus van Wyk, 13. Juan de Jongh (captain), 12. Jaco Taute 11. Seabelo Senatla, 10. Demetri Catrakilis, 9. Nic Groom, 8. Nizaam Carr, 7. Michael Rhodes, 6. Siya Kolisi, 5. Manuel Carizza, 4. Jean Kleyn, 3. Pat Cilliers (vice-captain), 2. Stephan Coetzee, 1. Alistair Vermaak