WP crowned Currie Cup champs

Cape Town - Western Province were crowned Currie Cup champions following a nailbiting 19-16 win against the Golden Lions at Newlands on Saturday evening.

As it happened: WP v Golden Lions

The match produced typical cup final rugby and neither side were allowed to run away with the game at any stage, although Province worked their way 13-0 half-time lead, as they only just survived the Lions' second-half onslaught.

The Lions did well to equalise at 13-all, but they surrendered two penalties midway through the second half and that proved their undoing.

True to form, Province and the Lions at the outset showed a reluctance to kick the ball for territorial gains and instead opted to run their way out of defensive positions.

Breakdown infringements from kickable positions offered opportunities for both teams in the opening 13 minutes.

Demetri Catrakilis, the Province place-kicker, was on song but his opposite number Marnitz Boshoff was uncharacteristically off-form with the boot.

Catrakilis goaled a third minute penalty and another six minutes later when the Lions were penalised at a Province maul (6-0).

Boshoff missed a 13th minute penalty attempt, and was fractionally wide of the mark again in the 31st minute eventhough both kicks were well within his range.

In between these setbacks, the Lions' defence was stretched to the limits trying to contain some rather adventurous play as the Province backs and forwards produced some telling inter-plays across the width of the field.

Province made their pressure count when they found a gap in the Lions midfield and inside centre Jaco Taute needed no invitation to streak through for the first try of the match. Catrakilis added the conversion in the 34th minute to give Province a 13-0 lead.

A minute ahead of the half-time break, the Lions relieved Boshoff of the placing kicking but his stand-in Ruan Combrinck failed to make good with an attempt from 40 metres out.

The Lions returned for the second-half with a far greater sense of urgency and were rewarded for their efforts this time as they ran up 13 unanswered points in only 17 minutes.

Boshoff was restored as the place-kicker and he slotted a 45th minute penalty to open his side's scoring in the match (13-3).

Next the Lions sprung an attack from their own half. Despite several desperate tackles, Jaco van der Walt provided the finishing touch with a dive at the corner flag, despite the valiant cover tackle effort from Seabelo Senatla.

Boshoff was successful with his touchline conversion in the 52nd minute (13-10).

With Province still not able to exit their half, they suffered another setback after a 57th minute penalty and Boshoff had the easiest of kicks to level the score at 13 points apiece.

Province staged a fightback without really threatening, but there was consolation for taking play into the Lions half in the ensuing minutes when they were awarded two penalties, mainly as a result of pressure at breakdown play.

Catrakilis was on target each time and with 17 minutes play left, Province were ahead by six points (19-13).

With time running out, the Lions mounted one last desperate challenge with several ball-in-hand surges into the Province half but they were held in check by near faultless defence. As their efforts continued to fail, their patience ran out and their lack of composure cost them momentum in the Province 22-metre area.

There was a long-distance penalty by Combrinck five minutes ahead of the final whistle, but the Lions never managed to take play into the Province 22-metre area again.

The Lions were, however, awarded two penalties inside their own half and another just inside Province's half but Boshoff's attempt to save the match - and force it into extra time - disappeared into the Newlands air as his effort went wide of the posts.

Teams:

Western Province
15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh (captain), 12 Jaco Taute, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Alistair Vermaak

Substitutes: 16 Neil Rautenbach, 17 Brok Harris, 19 Gerbrandt Grobler, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 Michael van der Spuy

Golden Lions
15 Jaco van der Walt, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Martin Muller, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Schalk van der Merwe

Substitutes: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Julian Redelinghuys, 19 Willie Britz, 20 Warwick Tecklenburg, 21 Mark Richards, 22 Harold Vorster
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