Durban - From the very first scrum of the game Western Province were all over the Sharks in that department in Saturday's Currie Cup final at Kings Park.
Regardless of where they were on the field or whose ball it was, the WP front row relentlessly shoved the Sharks pack backwards.
The result was that the visitors sparked an impetus into their game on both defence and attack and that they were able to release pressure regularly.
The front row battle was billed as crucial in the build-up to the game, and in the end it was the trio of JC Janse van Rensburg, Bongi Mbonambi and Wilco Louw that emerged as overwhelming victors.
Province scored 18 unanswered points in the second half to win the match 33-21, and that was in so small part down to their excellent performance at scrum time.
"The scrum was an important part of our plan, but we didn’t quite expect to be as dominant as we were," WP coach John Dobson said after the match.
"The first scrum, which I think was on Sharks’ ball ... that was a big marker for the game, so it was certainly very pleasing."
Sharks boss Robert du Preez was left with no option but to hold his hands up in defeat.
"They have got a really great front row - Wilco Louw, Bongi Mbonambi and JC Janse van Rensburg - and we just battled to recover from that with them applying that sort of pressure on us," he said.
"They were putting a lot of pressure on us. It started early on in the game with their scrums and I think that took its toll in the second half."
While the entire Province pack played its part, the big winner from the dominance up front is likely to be tighthead Wilco Louw, who has taken another significant step towards earning a start in the Springbok No 3 jersey.
The Bok squad for the end-of-year tour will be named on Sunday.
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