Seabelo Senatla scored his second try after the full-time hooter as Western Province snatch a late victory against the Cheetahs in a thrilling opening match of the Toyota Challenge in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
In this unique, four-match series, the Cheetahs will square up against the Sharks, Western Province and one club team from Spain and Romania respectively, with the winners of each match banking a R250,000 prize.
Sentala’s double ensured the first cheque was made out to Western Province as the series kicked off with a thriller that saw the Cheetahs take a 17-16 lead into the break against a side featuring several of the WP youngsters who had played in SA Rugby’s U20 Cup.
Cheetahs newbies Gideon van der Merwe (flank) and Daniel Kasende (wing) scored a try each in the first half, with flyhalf Siya Masuku converting both and adding a penalty.
Province’s early points came through a try from No 8 Marcel Theunissen, while young flyhalf Sacha Mngomezulu showed good temperament to add the extras and then slot three penalties.
Mngomezulu and Masuku traded a penalty each at the start of the second half, with Masuku kicking another to put the Cheetahs 23-19 ahead.
Senatla then grabbed the first of two tries to give Province the lead with 10 minutes left on the clock. The Cheetahs fired back and looked to have sealed the victory when back Cohen Jasper scored a few minutes later.
However, Senatla emerged as the hero as his second strike after the full-time hooter gave WP the win and the R250,000 prize money.
Cheetahs – Tries: Gideon van der Merwe, Daniel Kasende, Cohen Jasper. Conversions: Siya Masuku (2), Brandom Thompson. Penalties: Siya Masuku (3).
Western Province XV – Tries: Marcel Theunissen, Seabelo Senatla (2). Conversions: Sacha Mngomezulu (2). Penalties: Sacha Mngomezulu (4).