Western Province made an encouraging start to their Currie Cup title defence as they clinched a 43-19 win over Griquas in Kimberley on Friday. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
The opening game of the domestic season contained plenty of running rugby, especially from Province, who displayed a refreshing inclination to keep ball in hand.
Exciting backline players such as Seabelo Senatla, Cheslin Kolbe and Juan de Jongh were at the forefront of an impressive first-half performance, which saw WP establish a 24-7 lead.
Senatla, who sent a strong suggestion that he perhaps deserves to be in Durban working with the Boks, scored Province’s bonus-point try in the 52nd minute with a superb piece of individual skill as he grubbered ahead twice before collecting the ball to score.
Griquas responded with tries to flyhalf Riaan Viljoen and centre Ruhan Nel within the next 15 minutes, the second try coming at a time when WP lock Rynhardt Elstadt was in the sin bin, but at 31-19 down, there was too much to do with too little time.
Province duly sealed the result with two tries within two minutes as first blindside flank Sikhumbuzo Notshe and then De Jongh dotted down during the latter stages of the encounter.
It had been a scrappy start to proceedings as both sides shook off some expected rustiness, but when Province finally managed to string a solid phase of play together, No 8 Nizaam Carr found his way through Griquas' defence to score under the posts.
However, the home side hit straight back as hooker AJ le Roux finished off a movement that started with an enterprising set play at the lineout, with the conversion from Gouws Prinsloo making it 7-7 after 12 minutes.
Yet Province quickly settled into their attacking stride, and Senatla scored the visitors’ second try just before the quarter-hour mark as he collected a neat offload from captain Juan de Jongh.
Although lock Jean Kleyn received a yellow card for a cynical piece of play soon after, momentum had well and truly shifted the way of Province, and in the 27th minute wing Dillyn Leyds cantered over for their third try.
It would be the final score of the half, but the foundation had been laid for Province’s eventual victory.
Western Province – Tries: Nizaam Carr, Seabelo Senatla (2), Dillyn Leyds, Sikhumbuzo Notshe, Juan de Jongh. Conversions: Demetri Catrakilis (5). Penalty: Catrakilis.
Griquas – Tries: AJ le Roux, Riaan Viljoen, Ruhan Nel. Conversions: Gouws Prinsloo, Ntabeni Dukisa.
Griquas – 15 Gouws Prinsloo, 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Michael van der Spuy, 11 Ntabeni Dukisa, 10 Riaan Viljoen, 9 Tian Meyer (c), 8 Carel Greeff, 7 Nardus van der Walt, 6 RJ Liebenberg, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Jonathan Adendorf, 3 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 2 AJ le Roux, 1 Danie Mienie.
Subs: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Stephan Kotze, 18 Jaco Nepgen, 19 Leon Karemaker, 20 Rudi van Rooyen, 21 Jacquin Jansen, 22 Ngcobo Sandile.
Photo: Louis Botha/Gallo Images