Rob du Preez scored 14 points as Western Province clinched an impressive 29-14 win over the Vodacom Blue Bulls at Newlands on Friday, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
The win allowed Western Province to draw within just a single log point of the second-placed Bulls, and keeps the defending champs’ hopes alive of clinching a home semi-final with three rounds of pool action left after this weekend.
Province raced into a 12-0 lead early on with tries by Dillyn Leyds and Huw Jones, although the Blue Bulls drew six points back through the boot of flyhalf Louis Fouché, who slotted a couple of penalties before the half an hour mark.
Du Preez and Fouché traded a penalty each before half-time, with WP holding on to a six-point lead at the break.
The WP pivot knocked over another penalty in the 47th minute to open up a comfy buffer, while the talented youngster added another on either side of the hour mark to extend that advantage to 15 points.
The Bulls hit back with a try to winger Travis Ismaiel in the 74th minute, but replacement Jano Vermaak sealed the result with a late try for WP.
Western Province – Tries: Dillyn Leyds, Huw Jones, Jano Vermaak. Conversions: Rob du Preez. Penalties: Du Preez (4).
Blue Bulls – Tries: Travis Ismaiel. Penalties: Louis Fouché (3).
Western Province – 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Huw Jones, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Nic Groom (c), 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Chris Cloete, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Subs: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Chris van Zyl, 19 Nizaam Carr, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Demetri Catrakilis, 22 Kobus van Wyk.
Blue Bulls – 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Travis Ismaiel, 13 Dries Swanepoel, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Jamba Ulengo, 10 Louis Fouché, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Lappies Labuschagne (c), 7 Roelof Smit, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Jacques du Plessis, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Subs: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Werner Kruger, 18 RG Snyman, 19 Arno Botha, 20 Ivan van Zyl, 21 Tian Schoeman, 22 Jan Serfontein.
Photo: Luke Walker/Gallo Images