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Cape Town – Western Province toppled the Currie Cup log-leaders the Golden Lions with a 27-14 victory in their the top-of-the-table third-round clash at Newlands on Saturday evening.
After leading 14-8 at the break, WP added a third try late in the match to sign off in grand style in front of just under 15,000
The two teams enjoyed an even share of possession in the opening stages and predictably they ran the ball at every opportunity. There were several half-chances to score, mainly because clearing kicks were charged down at either end, but the defences remained intact.
In the 11th minute, however, WP threatened several times after a maul from a line-out five metres out but their three-quarters made the breakthrough when right wing Kobus van Wyk rounded off, before flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis added the conversion (7-0).
Lady Fortune smiled on WP four minutes later when Van Wyk gathered a poor Catrakilis clearance kick from virtually on his own goalline and ran the length of the field to snatch a second converted try (14-0).
Referee Craig Joubert punished WP for a breakdown infringement and left wing Ruan Combrinck goaled the 40-metre penalty to open the Lions' scoring in the match (14-3).
The Lions staged a fightback in the final 10 minutes of the half but WP absorbed the pressure with ferocious tackling in their own 22-metre territory and looked set to retain their lead. But then a minute ahead of the half-time whistle, Andries Coetzee, the Lions' fullback, found an inviting opening out wide and dotted down his side's first try, which went unconverted (14-8).
The Lions looked strong at the start of the second half but they made no headway against a stubborn WP defence. Their early second-half territorial advantage proved handy when Combrinck goaled a penalty, but the advance was blanked out three minutes later by a Catrakilis penalty, which restored WP's six-point lead (17-11).
The Lions continued to apply pressure for a 10-minute spell but they had to rely on another Combrinck penalty to keep the scoreboard ticking over. However, WP struck back four minutes later with a second Catrakilis penalty (20-14).
By the time the second half reached the halfway stage, WP seemed to find their early rhythm again. They did enough to record a third try but lost possession twice when the tryline was at their mercy. On both occasions, the Lions responded with counter-attacks from their in-goal area but the WP cover-defence scrambled well enough to rescue the situation.
Seven minutes before the end, WP ran the Lions ragged in a move initiated on their own 22-metre line and, despite several excellent tackles, substitute Jaco Taute was handily placed to take a scoring pass and crash over for his side's third try.
Substitute pivot Kurt Coleman added the conversion to stretch the lead to 13 points.
Taute's try effectively put the match beyond the never-say-die visitors and, with their 13-point defeat, they surrendered the top spot on the Currie Cup log.
Scorers: WP: Tries: Kobus van Wyk (2), Jaco Taute. Conversions:
Demetri Catrakilis (2), Kurt Coleman. Penalties: Catrakilis (2).
Golden Lions: Try: Andries Coetzee. Penalties: Ruan Combrinck(3). – Sapa