CAPE TOWN – Western Province overcame the Sharks 32-31 in an entertaining Currie Cup clash at Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday night.
Province, who suffered defeat to the Lions last week, made sure to turn up in their first Currie Cup game at their new home against a Sharks outfit that was eager to put in the work.
Flyhalf Tim Swiel’s boot was one of the standouts as he contributed 19 points, slotting five penalties and converting both their two tries.
Scrumhalf Paul de Wet showed just why he’s just as comfortable on the wing when he picked up a loose ball, sniped down touch and beat the Sharks defence to score the opener (10-0).
Shortly afterwards, from an attacking lineout in opposition 22, the Sharks mauled their way closer to the whitewash, before flanker Thembelani Bholi powered his way over the line through a couple of defenders. Flyhalf Curwin Bosch’s boot helped the visitors keep the early margin tight (10-7).
Scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse – who put in a busy, top shift – made sure to add his name to the points-scorers when he finished off some solid work by the Sharks forwards to quickly snuck the ball over the try line after a ruck inches out (16-14).
The Sharks scored the try of the match from counter-attack when, starting in their own 22, they winger Thaakir Abrahams got the ball, blazed down touch and danced his way out of a few defenders’ grip, before sharply offloading to Hendrikse on his inside to finish and grab a brace and give the Durbanites the lead for the first time in the match after a busy opening half (half time 19-21).
The Sharks’ lead didn’t last too long. Right after coming out the shed, Province ran past the visitors’ score again with a top try by promising loose forward Evan Roos, who perfectly paired physicality with pace to run in his try (26-21).
Swiel’s radar was dangerously on point as he slotted yet another penalty to extend their lead shortly afterwards (29-21).
The Sharks’ forwards did their thing again, with Fez Mbatha this time going over. Both goal-kickers had their boots on right on the night, with Bosch also producing a flawless performance from the tee. This conversion attempt was no different (29-28).
Province came close to scoring their third try, this time through Cornel Smit, but it was disallowed.
This score line of course meant that the last quarter would be an intense one. And it was.
With four minutes to go, Bosch went for his first penalty of the night, giving his team a 29-31 lead. But it didn’t last, with Swiel following with one of his own almost right afterwards (32-31).
Despite a dubious last-minute refereeing call on the ground which gifted possession to the Sharks, Province regained the ball and kicked it out as the final hooter went, making sure they stay put at the top of the log.
Western Province next face Griquas at Cape Town Stadium.
Western Province – 32 Tries: Paul de Wet, Evan Roos Conversions: Tim Swiel (2) Penalties: Swiel (5)
Sharks – 31 Tries: Thembelani Bholi, Jaden Hendrikse (2), Fez Mbatha Conversions: Curwin Bosch (4) Penalty: Bosch