Cape Town - Ill discipline cost the Border Bulldogs badly as DHL Western Province ran in eight tries to record a resounding 52-26 (halftime 19-16) provincial tournament victory at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday.
The match was well balanced midway through the second stanza with Border leading 26-23 but then lock Lindokuhle Welemu was sent to the sin-bin after both teams had been warned by the referee for repeated infringements. The home side were able to run in three tries without reply to open up a 19-point advantage before Welemu returned to the field of play.
Border suffered another setback five minutes before the final whistle when their captain, flank Siya Mdaka, was also shown a yellow card for a side entry into a maul on his own tryline. Province mauled the resultant penalty close to the line and replacement scrumhalf Justin Phillips, dived over the line for the home side's eighth try.
The first half was a great tussle between the sides but it was the home team who opened the scoring through their captain, inside centre Tim Whitehead, who stepped inside to beat two defenders over the line. Fullback Grant Hermanus converted as Province led 7-0 after just three minutes.
The Border flyhalf, Masixole Banda, opened the visitor's account with a penalty just three minutes later and the men from George took the lead as centre Lunga Dumezweni crashed over the line after some good, patient build-up. Banda, who slotted four penalties and two conversions, added the extra points as Border claimed a three-point advantage.
Province regained the lead with a converted try from hooker Chad Solomon before Banda slotted two more penalties to hand the lead back to the visitors. But WP never gave up and scored their third try on the stroke of halftime as the home side countered from inside their own half and almost scored in the corner before scrumhalf Godlen Masimla picked up and dived over the line. Hermanus was unable to convert from near the touchline as the sides entered the change room with Province leading by three points.
With WP losing their captain early in the second period through concussion, Border regained the lead with their second try and what a try it was! Fullback Sonwabiso Mqalo took the ball at pace and beat two defenders before side-stepping another two Province defenders to score under the poles for a converted try.
The lead changed hands yet again as Edwil van der Merwe dashed down the lefthand touchline, scything through three defenders to score Province's bonus-point try. With Hermanus missing the conversion, WP led by just a point but Banda regained the lead for the visitors just two minutes later with his fourth penalty attempt.
That's when the wheels came off as Welemu received his marching orders with Van der Merwe registering his second try and replacement hooker Culllen Collopy and Hermanus also notching up five-pointers.
The win moves Western Province to the top of the qualifying log, above Griquas on points difference while the Bulldogs languish fourth from bottom.
DHL Western Province - Tries: Edwil van der Merwe (2), Time Whitehead, Chad Solomon, Godlen Masimla, Cullen Collopy, Grant Hermanus, Justin Phillips; Conversions: Hermanus (5).
Border Bulldogs - Tries: Lunga Dumezweni, Sonwabiso Mqalo; Conversions: Masixole Banda (2); Penalties: Banda (4).
Read the story on SuperSport.com