Province superb in the wet

2009-09-28 00:00

WHILE the Sharks fiddled their way to an unconvincing weekend Currie Cup win over the ailing Leopards in Durban, their rivals for top spot, Luke Watson’s Western Province, blossomed in the atrocious conditions to thump third-placed Griquas 43-3 in the Newlands paddy-field on Saturday.

The Sharks maintained their one-point lead at the top of the log, but not only was their superior points difference wiped out by WP at the weekend, but they now also face a tougher two rounds than their Cape Town challengers. The Sharks meet the improving Lions, who thrashed Boland 88-15 at the weekend, in their next game in Durban before travelling to Kimberley to take on Griquas. WP are certain to take five points off Boland at home this Saturday and they then travel to play the Lions.

The Sharks have to take maximum points off both the Lions and Griquas, who will almost certainly be playing for a semi-final berth in their final game, if they are to finish top. It could be crucial. The Blue Bulls squeaked home 30-27 against the Free Staters on Saturday, but with Bakkies Botha, Bryan Habana and Fourie du Preez still to return, they are likely to finish third on the log and the Sharks would want to finish first to avoid bumping into them in the semi-finals.

WP ran in five tries without reply in a game that started in driving rain and pools of water. Province were comfortable, producing superb pressure rugby in the wet, while Griquas were very much at sea. The Kimberley team spent most of the first half trapped in their own territory, conceding a string of penalties under pressure.

Province will also be encouraged by the impact made by Australian import, the 19-year-old Matt Toomua, who only arrived on Thursday. He slotted in at flyhalf and he fashioned two late tries to ensure the bonus point.

It was a highly satisfying win for Province who were superior and more organised in every area as Griquas struggled unsuccessfully to express themselves in the unfamiliar conditions.

The Blue Bulls secured their position in fourth place on the log against Free State at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday as both teams scored three tries.

But for some questionable refereeing calls, Free State may well have come away with a win. The game will be remembered for the quite remarkable individual try scored by sevens Springbok and Free State wing Fabian Juries, who sidestepped his way through half the Bulls team on his way to the try-line.

The Lions also kept their mathematical chances of claiming a semi-final spot alive as they ran in 13 tries in beating Boland 88-15 at Ellis Park.

SATURDAY’S SCORES AND SCORERS:

Western Province 43 Griquas 3

Scorers: WP - Tries: Brok Harris, Joe Pietersen, Duane Vermeulen, Frikkie Welsh and Pieter Louw; Conversions: Joe Pietersen (2), Peter Grant; Penalties: Joe Pietersen (4). Griquas - Penalty: Naas Olivier

Blue Bulls 30 Free State 27

Scorers: Blue Bulls –Tries: Gerhard van den Heever, Dewald Potgieter, Wynand Olivier; Conversions: Morné Steyn (3); Penalties: Steyn (3). Free State – Tries: Fabian Juries (2), Lionel Mapoe; Conversions: Jacques-Louis Potgieter (3); Penalties: Potgieter (2).

Lions 88 Boland 15

Scorers: Lions - Tries: Willem Alberts (2), Walter Venter (2), Alwyn Hollenbach, Gert Muller, Dusty Noble, Derrick Minnie, Doppies Le Grange, Chris Jonck, Cobus Grobbelaar, Nico Luus, Franco van der Merwe; Conversions: Herkie Kruger (8), Earl Rose (2); Penalty: Kruger. Boland -Tries: Junior Bester, Deon Scholtz; Conversion: Dandré Gerber; Penalty: Gerber.

Friday: Sharks 34 Leopards 20

 

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