Griquas cemented top spot in the Currie Cup standings with a 27-23 win over the Western Province on Friday in Kimberley.
The result means that the Griquas are the first team to secure a semifinal spot, while Western Province’s hopes of making the play-offs are in great danger.
John Dobson’s men picked up a losing bonus-point which sees them move to third place. However, that could all change depending on this weekend’s results between Pumas versus Cheetahs and Golden Lions versus Sharks.
Western Province never looked like coming out of their rut, not after wasting multiple opportunities and conceded a handful of penalties in the first half. Province’s only weapon was the line-out maul but Griquas were well prepared as they repelled the visitors thought out the 80 minutes.
The match had an erratic pace as both teams opted to utilise an expansive brand of rugby, however, it was the hosts who looked more lethal.
Griquas were simply impressive and had a dream start as they earned an early scrum penalty. They took it quickly before shifting the ball wide to Ederies Arendse, who went over in the corner for the first try. George Whitehead had no problem slotting over the conversion for a 7-0 lead.
After the nerves and dust settled, Western Province finally enjoyed some possession inside the Griquas’ half. However, the Cape side’s momentum was halted courtesy of a penalty the breakdown. They again set up an attack and again were penalised when SP Marias failed to release the ball inside the Griquas’ 22.
Province finally got on the board after 20 minutes. The side was rewarded a penalty and Marais stepped up to add the three points, trailing 3-7.
Griquas showed patience and were finally rewarded as they extended their lead. Chriswill September and Michal Haznar produced some great interplay inside the 22 before Haznar’s timely flat pass found Eduan Keyter, who strolled over the chalk for the converted try.
Just before the break Province found a space outside, but failed to capitalise as Chad Solomon’s pass could not reach Seabelo Senatla, resulting in Griquas keeping their 14-3 lead intact a the break.
In the second stanza, after the flyhalves exchanged penalties, Province managed to score their first try. Following a failed driving maul attempt, the side opted to feed the backline, which proved to be a good option as Senatla dived over the tryline for five points. Marais failed to add the extras and the score remained 11-17.
And then Griquas turned on the style, instigated by replacement scrumhalf September. The hosts produced silky and classy passes from their half before Arendse bounced Senatla for his second try of the match. Whitehead added the extras for the 24-11 lead.
Province were under pressure and things got even worse when Ruhan Nel was handed a yellow card for a cynical foul. Capitalising on the WP’s ill-discipline, Whitehead extended the lead with three additional points.
The visitors finished the stronger team with replacements such as Damian Willemse and Edwill van der Merwe making a big impact. Loose forward Nama Xaba got over for his first try in just his second Currie Cup game and Senatla grabbed a second at the death, but it was not enough as the home side held on for the win.
Man of the match: The Griquas back three were simply sublime – Anthony Volmink, wing Ederies Arendse and Eduan Keyter outplayed their opponents, while Michal Haznar’s runs and breaks in the middle were just as vital. However, our nod goes to Griquas flyhalf George Whitehead, who dictated the game very well and even had a hand in one of his team’s try.
Tries: Arendse 2, Keyter
Cons: Whitehead 3
Pens: Whitehead 2
For Western Province
Tries: Senatla 2, Xaba
Cons: Marais 2
Pens: Marais 2
Yellow card: Ruhan Nel (Western Province, 66 – cynical foul)
Griquas: 15 Anthony Volmink, 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Michal Haznar, 12 Andre Swarts, 11 Eduan Keyter, 10 George Whitehead (captain), 9 Zak Burger, 8 Neill Jordaan, 7 Sias Koen, 6 Zandre Jordaan, 5 Victor Sekekete, 4 Ian Groenewald, 3 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 2 AJ Le Roux, 1 Khwezi Mona.
Replacements: 16 Wilmar Arnoldi, 17 Mox Mxoli, 18 Johan Momsen, 19 Gideon van der Merwe, 20 Chriswill September, 21 Chris Smit, 22 Bjorn Basson, 23 Ruan Kramer.
Western Province: 15 Sarel Marais, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Josh Stander, 9 Justin Phillips, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 John Schickerling, 6 Ernst van Rhyn, 5 Chris van Zyl (captain), 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Chad Solomon, 1 Corne Fourie.
Replacements: 16 Schalk Erasmus, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 David Meihuizen, 20 Nama Xaba, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Damian Willemse, 23 Edwill van der Merwe.
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen, Jaco Kotze
TMO: Lesego Legoete
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