Craig Barry (left) and Godlen Masimla Western Province celebrate with try scorer Bjorn Basson during the 2017 Supersport Rugby Challenge against the Free State Cheetahs at Greenpoint Track. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Just over five years ago, Western Province won the now defunct Vodacom Cup for the first time in 15 attempts beating four-time champions Griquas 20-18 in the final to hand the union their first senior silverware since 2001.

Coached by John Dobson, Province scored a try at the death to end the season with a perfect 10 wins from 10 games record.

The teams meet again at Florida Park in Ravensmead on Sunday (kickoff 2pm - live on SuperSport) vying for the SuperSport Rugby Challenge title.

Dobson is still head coach and is enjoying another fine season, with his boys unbeaten and chasing an 11th win.

They ended the pool phases with the most log points (39 from a possible 40) among the 14 other competing teams to secure home ground advantage for the quarter-finals.

Province went up against a Free State XV and rolled over the Bloemfontein outfit at the Green Point Track to book a place in the last four.

That set up a north v south derby with the Blue Bulls and once again the men from the Cape prevailed.

Now for the main event, a final bout that could go either way.

Surely such a big occasion for Province would have meant hosting the game at their favoured venue Newlands where their rivals haven’t won since 1911. But the final is to be played Tygerberg Rugby Football Club.

A full house is expected seeing that the club’s first team will play a WP Super League A match against arch-rivals Belhar.

Good news for Province because the home supporters will be making life as difficult as possible for a Griquas squad much older and more experienced than their counterparts.

Yes, Griquas, who downed the more-fancied Golden Lions in the other semi-final clash, are a Premier Currie Cup team up against a Province second team.

That said, Province will not bow to a hardened lot, so expect them to opt for an expansive game to get the better of the men from Kimberley.

“We’re looking forward to the challenge,” said Dobson, whose record at this level is exceptional - lost just two of 34 games in three years.

“We will not be bullied by anyone, especially Griquas. Bring it on I say.

“Obviously I’m pleased with the way the season has gone. I’m very proud of the boys, they’ve formed a very close bond and play for one another. So much talent and I believe we have the armoury to take this one.

“We man up physically and half the job is done. We have a pack that stands back for no one and a back seven loaded with game-breakers, leaving me feeling positive about the outcome.

“Our discipline wasn’t great last time out and there won’t be a repeat of that, the eye will be on the ball, not the player.”

Craig Barry, a product of Tygerberg RFC, has the X-factor and along with leftwinger Bjorn Basson and livewire scrumhalf Godlen Masimla will be key players for the home side.

And the inclusion of Ollie Kebble at loosehead prop and highly-rated young JD Schickerling at lock adds grunt and flair to the front eight.

Teams For Final

Western Province: 15 Craig Barry, 14 Marcello Sampson, 13 Michal Haznar, 12 Brandon Thomson, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Kurt Coleman, 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Jaco Coetzee, 7 Johan du Toit, 6 Eital Bredenkamp (captain), 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Jurie van Vuuren, 3 Michael Kumbirai, 2 Chad Solomon, 1 Oli Kebble.

Bench: 16 Dean Muir, 17 Ash Wells, 18 Eduard Zandberg, 19 Luke Stringer, 20 Herschel Jantjies, 21 Ryan Oosthuizen, 22 Grant Hermanus.

Griquas: 15 Eric Zana, 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Kock Marx, 12 Tertius Kruger, 11 AJ Coertzen, 10 George Whitehead, 9 Christiaan Meyer, 8 Jason Fraser, 7 Sias Koen, 6 Wendal Wehr, 5 Pieter Jansen van Vuuren, 4 FP Pelser, 3 Ewald vd Westhuizen, 2 AJ le Roux, 1 Liam Hendricks.

Bench: 16 Marius Fourie, 17 Nicolaas Oosthuizen, 18 Jonathan Adendorf, 19 Jonathan J van Rensburg, 20 Renier Botha, 21 Andre Swarts, 22 Enver Brandt.

Weekend Argus

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