Vodacom Cup

WP beat Free State XV

2015-05-02 16:53
Robert du Preez (Gallo Images)

Bloemfontein - Flyhalf Robert du Preez played a key role as DHL Western Province remained unbeaten in the Vodacom Cup with a 30-29 (halftime 17-3) victory over the Toyota Free State XV at the Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

According to the supersport.com website, the Western Province pivot played a vital role in two of the visitor’s three tries as the men from Cape Town desperately hung on for one-point win that extended their lead at the top of the South Section log to six points and guarantee their place at the summit with just one league match remaining.

Free State picked up two points for finishing within seven points and scoring four tries two move into second place on the log, two points above Griquas, who started later against the Cell C Sharks XV in Pietermaritzburg.

The visitors started strongly and were on the board after just six minutes with their first try through inside centre, Kyle Lombard. WP had a strong maul from a lineout but Free State were penalised for being offsides. Scrumhalf Godlin Masimla took a quick-tap penalty and fed Lombard who raced through from 10 metres to open the scoring. Du Preez converted to hand the visitors a 7-0 lead.

Du Preez then started his magic after both sides traded penalties. Free State Flyhalf, Niel Marais launched a clearance kick from inside his 22-metre area with Du Preez fielding the ball inside his own half. The tall pivot then danced past some defenders before feeding Tshotsho Mbovane on the left wing. The speedster beat one defender and then passed the ball back to Du Preez before taking the return pass and burst through the defence to score under the poles with Du Preez converting to hand WP a handy 17-3 lead.

Free State’s handling let them down in the first stanza with the home side knocking the ball on in good positions but did produce some good defence to keep the WP maul out on a number of occasions.

Du Preez began the second half with a penalty after just two minutes to extend the lead to 17 points but replacement lock, Henco Venter, burst over the WP tryline after a Free Sate maul was stopped just short of the tryline 10 minutes after the break, shortly after referee Jason Jafta had sent the WP captain, Chris van Zyl, to the sin-bin. Marais converted to reduce the deficit to 10 points.

Despite being a man down, Province produced some magic through Du Preez, who again fielded an attempted clearance from Free State. The flyhalf claimed the ball on the halfway line and moved the ball upfield before offloading in the tackle to EW Viljoen. The WP fullback then jinked past a few defenders to score the visitor’s third try under the poles. Du Preez converted to restore the 17-point lead.

But with 20 minutes remaining, the hosts began to hold onto the ball better and the results showed. With Free State on the attack, WP were penalised for being offside and a quick-tap penalty was taken with the ball being shifted to the left side of the field. Tighthead prop Teunis Nieuwoudt produced the skills of a centre as he dummied the Province defence and went over near the left-hand corner. Marais converted again to bring the hosts to within 10 points.

Du Preez slotted his third penalty of the afternoon five minutes later but that was the last time WP would trouble the scorers as the home side looked to produce a fairytale comeback. With just five minutes remaining on the clock, Maphutha Dolo scored the host’s third try in the left-hand corner after some silky skills from the Free State backline after WP had lost their own line-out with Van Zyl knocking the ball on.

But Noel Marx, who replaced Marais, missed the conversion from the touchline which proved to be vital in the final outcome of the game. The hosts refused to give up and continued to attack the WP tryline and the pressure finally told as Free State flanker, Reuben Johannes went over in the left-hand corner as the hooter sounded for the end of the game. Marx converted the try but it was a little too late.

The two points the Free State picked up could be vital in the final standings as Free State travel to Kimberley next week to face off against the Griquas and the winner of that match will end second on the log and potentially have an easier match in the quarterfinals.


Toyota Free State XV – Tries: Henco Venter, Teunis Nieuwoudt, Maphutha Dolo, Reuben Johannes; Conversions: Neil Marais (2), Noel Marx; Penalties: Marais (1).

DHL Western Province – Tries: Kyle Lombard, Tshotsho Mbovane, EW Viljoen; Conversions: Robert du Preez (3); Penalties: Du Preez (3).

Read more on:    vodacom cup  |  rugby

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