Province pipped to semis by Lions

2008-10-06 00:00

The Sharks had the dress rehearsal they wanted, Western Province won a battle but lost a war — and end up on the Currie Cup scrapheap — and the Free State Cheetahs played open gates with Boland but still advanced to the semi-finals.

That was the story of the weekend’s final round of league action which saw the Sharks end tops with the Blue Bulls second — and they will host the semi-finals — with Free State third and the Lions fourth.

The Bulls will play the Free Staters in the late semi-final at Loftus on Saturday, with the Sharks hosting the Lions in the early afternoon clash.

The Sharks, sublime at the start but untidy in the second half, ran to a 10-try, 66-12 win over Griquas in front of a small, 13 000 crowd at King’s Park. Their top spot will now allow them to host the final on October 25 if they can beat the Lions in the semi-finals.

Western Province beat the Lions 14-6 at Newlands on Saturday evening, but they failed to make up the points difference, or score four tries for a bonus points, which would have taken them into the last four.

Province had to win by 19 points and score tries, and although they created countless chances, their option-taking on attack was as poor as their finishing and the composed Lions were able to defend their position on the log if not win the game.

The strong finish and a string of successive wins by WP, with their Boks back, failed to undo their dreadful start, which saw them lose away to the Falcons and Griquas.

Free State and Boland contrived to leak a remarkable 90 points between them in Bloemfontein with the hosts winning 50-40.

This provided Free State with third place and a semi-final spot, while Boland avoided the wooden spoon on the log.

Still, the Blue Bulls, watching from Pretoria and looking ahead to the semi-final, will have been encouraged by the Free Staters lack of direction on attack and their poor defence.

Scorers:

Sharks 66 Griquas 12

Sharks: Keegan Daniel (3), JP Pietersen (2), Frans Steyn, Albert van den Berg, Jacques Botes, John Smit, Odwa Ndungane. Conversions Ruan Pienaar (6), Odwa Ndungane (1), Rory Kockott (1).

Griquas: Tries: Sarel Pretorius, Naas Olivier. Conversions: Sarel Pretorius

WP 14 Lions 6

Western Province: Tries: Luke Watson, Jean de Villiers. Conversions: Peter Grant (2).

Lions: Penalties: Earl Rose (2).

Cheetahs 50 Boland 40

Cheetahs: Tries: Juan Smith (2), Heinrich Brussow, Tewis de Bruyn, Jongi Nokwe, Nico Breedt, Schalk vd Merwe. Conversions: Jacques-Louis Potgieter (5), De Bruyn. Penalty: Potgieter.

Boland: Tries: Piet van Zyl (3), Josh Strauss, Elgar Watts, Deon Scholtz. Conversions: Justin Peach (4), Watts.

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