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Western Province were crowned Vodacom Cup rugby champions for the first time ever when they beat the Griquas in a close final at GWK Park in Kimberley on Friday.
The Capetonians’ victory by 20-18 - sealed by a converted try by flanker Rohan Kitshoff in injury time Ä saw the Vodacom Cup travel south of Bloemfontein for the first time in its 15 year history.
The Pampas XV won the title last year from the South Section, but they were based in Potchefstroom.
It was a closely fought contest as WP, coached by John Dobson, remained unbeaten for the season.
Last year they only lost one game, but that was in the quarter-final round which saw them knocked out of the competition.
This was the second time in as many years that the eventual Vodacom Cup champions finished the season unbeaten.
Had the home team’s kickers, Marnitz Boshoff and Rudi Vogt, aimed better at the uprigths, things could’ve been different though.
Between the two of them, they missed 17 points through kicks at goal.
Griquas' Leon Karemaker opened the scoring with a try in the second minute for the home team, but Danie Poolman closed the gap for WP in the 18th minute when he crashed over for a try.
The teams went into the break with Griquas leading 13-10.
Demetri Catrakilis added his second penalty goal shortly after the restart to level the scores, but Griquas used their pack to great effect in the second half and the gap opened to 18-13 when looshead prop Janro van Niekerk crashed over in the 48th minute.
It was an arm wrestle after that, with WP slowly fighting back, before Kitshoff and Catrakilis had the last say in an exciting final that brought down the curtain on the exciting season. - Sapa