Cape Town - Western Province saw off the visiting Griffons at City Park, Athlone on Saturday in their Currie Cup qualifier 38-26 (half-time 17-12) despite the blustery conditions.
Coach John Dobson had made six changes to the WP starting side that won 43-34 against the Leopards in Potchefstroom and the team featured quite a few Super Rugby players doing duty.
Winger Sevlyn Davids was the leading try scorer and flyhalf George Whitehead was top of the point scoring chart going into the match, but only Whitehead managed to add to his personal tally.
Jaco Taute, the solitary Springbok on the field, showed he is ready to challenge for a place in the Stormers team after rounding off a Province counter attack. The former fullback showed why he had such a stellar Currie Cup season after his move to inside centre and was only busy on defence during the match.
The WP forwards then did well to outmuscle the men from Welkom and it was hooker Chad Solomon who got up with the ball. Solomon was making his return after spending some time on the side-lines due to an injury but immediately made his presence felt on the pitch.
At 12-0 the visitors were staring down the barrel and a penalty by flyhalf George Whitehead gave them a slight reprieve.
It was yet another player bought into the starting XV that scored next, with livewire flanker Eital Brendenkamp finishing well for his team’s third try of the afternoon. Goal-kicking was difficult in the blustery conditions but at 17-6 the Capetonians were looking for the bonus-point try.
The boot of Whitehead kept the visitors in touch and the two teams went into the halftime break with the home side leading 17-12.
It was Taute who scored the vital fourth try after the break and then the proverbial dam wall burst. Taute’s centre partner EW Viljoen then showed some sublime individual skill to dot down after receiving the ball in his own half.
Flyhalf Robert du Preez then offloaded for Viljoen to grab his brace and at 38-12 the blue and white hoops were cruising. Late tries by eighthman De Wet Kruger and prop Danie van der Merwe added some respectability to the score line but then replacement scrumhalf Justin Philips rubbed further salt with the seventh try of the afternoon.
Next up for WP is a trip to the Barnard Stadium in Kempton Park to face the Valke with the Griffons hosting the Free State XV in Welkom.
Tries: Jaco Taute (2), Chad Solomon, Eital Bredenkamp, EW Viljoen (2), Justin Phillips
Conversion: Scott van Breda (4)
Tries: De Wet Kruger, Danie van der Merwe
Conversions: Whitehead (2)
Penalties: Whitehead (3)
Drop goal: Whitehead