KIMBERLEY – Griquas scored their first Currie Cup win of the season and ended a nine-match losing sequence to Western Province when they courageously prevailed 44-34 in a pulsating 10-try clash on Wednesday.
The week before, Griquas had conceded 41 points against the Sharks in Durban, but responded on home turf to dramatically end their three-match losing start to the competition.
The home side struck first through the boot of flyhalf André Swarts after the WP forwards infringed at a lineout maul just two minutes into the game.
Province spurned a number of kicks at goal as penalties mounted against the home side in the first quarter.
But they could not get over the line and instead, Griquas fought back and when Province were defending their line, scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenage committed a professional foul and was yellow-carded.
Griquas did not take the kick at goal and then were turned over when they chose an attacking scrum.
They remained in the WP 22m area, and eventually loosehead prop Liam Hendricks barged over the line in the 17th minute, with Swarts adding the extra points for a 10-0 lead.
Kurt Coleman pulled back three points for the visitors in the 20th minute, but this was more than undone soon afterwards in a lovely build-up from the home team, where they crashed the ball through a number of phases and produced a gap out wide for wing Ederies Arendse to score.
Swarts’ conversion gave Griquas a handy 17-3 lead, but Province fought back, and a long period of domination led to Nizaam Carr scoring an easy try from an advancing set scrum.
Coleman’s conversion made it 17-10 with three minutes to halftime, and WP had the perfect end as the hooter sounded.
Wing Bjorn Basson scored in the corner after a well-floated pass by Coleman, who missed the conversion, to leave the home side two points ahead at the break.
The visitors picked up where they left off when two minutes after the break, Seabelo Senatla ran a great line to burst clean through for a converted try, and at 22-17, they were leading for the first time.
But Griquas immediately responded with a counter-attack that saw scrumhalf Renier Botha thrust clear for a try, and the home lead was restored at 24-22.
It would not last long, though. In the 50th minute, Coleman scored in the corner, although he could not convert his try as WP regained the lead at 27-24.
Then came a spectacular solo try by fullback SP Marais after a turnover by the forwards and the conversion by substitute flyhalf Damian Willemse – his first points in Currie Cup rugby – gave his team breathing space at 34-24.
Griquas refused to lie down and they pressed hard on the WP line, and a high tackle by Marais resulted in him being yellow-carded.
It was game on once more, especially when Griquas replacement scrumhalf Tiaan Dorfling smashed over from close quarters after a tap and go, with the conversion making it 34-31 to WP in the 60th minute.
The home side had the wind in their sails and scored a brilliant team try when they ran the ball from their tryline, the slick handing and the use of the breadth of the field culminated in flank Wendal Wehr scoring.
Swarts kicked the conversion for a 38-34 lead.
And in the 67th minute, George Whitehead (just on the field for Swarts), pushed the lead out to 41-34. The substitute flyhalf was on target a few minutes later, and Griquas had an unassailable 44-34 lead with seven minutes to go.
Griquas 44 – Tries: Liam Hendricks, Ederies Arendse, Renier Botha, Tiaan Dorfling, Wendal Wehr. Conversions: André Swarts (5). Penalties: Swarts (1), George Whitehead (2).
Western Province 34 – Tries: Nizaam Carr, Bjorn Basson, Seabelo Senatla, Kurt Coleman, SP Marais. Conversions: Coleman (2), Damian Willemse (1). Penalties: Coleman (1).
African News Agency (ANA)