CAPE TOWN - Independent Media rugby writer Wynona Louw has looked at the four battles which won the war for Western Province in Saturday's Currie Cup final against the Sharks in Durban.
When is the set-piece battle not ever important in a good ol’ game of rugga? Make that game one against the Sharks (and a final at that), and that contest’s importance gets bumped up times 10. In Durban, Province dominated the scrums, while their line-out didn’t slack either. Of course, it was a collective scrummaging effort from the visitors, but Wilco Louw’s contribution in particular proved worthy of gold. The 23-year-old showed his old mate Thomas du Toit exactly who's the boss when it comes to packing down for the shoving competition. And in the process sent out a strong-enough message to the Springbok callers regarding a few more starts in the No 3 jersey. Also, another positive was what WP did after the scrums - the try they scored from the scrum through Cobus Wiese was simply spectacular, even though, ironically, Wiese’s try came after the only scrum that the Sharks actually looked strong in.
Forwards on point
The first half might not have gone according to plan, but in the second half WP dominated the gain line battle as well. They also cut down on the mistakes that spoiled a number of opportunities and put them under unnecessary pressure in the first half. Their pack built on their impressive displays that saw them manhandle the Golden Lions in last week’s semi-final at Newlands, while Province’s performance up front on Saturday should also have reminded the Sharks of the glimpses of forward-dominance John Dobson’s side revealed two weeks ago at Kings Park.
Good to see you again old friend 🏆 pic.twitter.com/gkyiVTJSZH
After trailing 21-15 at half time, a brilliant second-half performance saw WP scoring 18 points, while they didn’t allow the hosts to grab a single one. Their outing in the second stanza didn’t only allow Province to claim their 34th Currie Cup trophy, but it also revealed a lot about their character. This was a team that were the underdogs by a mile going into the final, and in the build-up to the match, coach John Dobson said that they weren’t reading too much into their 31-20 win over the Sharks two weeks ago. Point is, Province weren’t the favourites, yet they still managed to come back from a half-time deficit to claim the win. And that says a lot it would about any team. Also, WP have lost a number of games they just shouldn’t have this season, and in most of those games they failed to maintain their lead and finish the way they started. When asked what he thought the reasons for those slip-ups were, Dobson said that his team might have lacked that killer instinct to finish on a high. And if that was the issue throughout those tough times, then WP certainly found their killer instinct at exactly the right time.
Key individual moments
Yep, there were a few. A few moments that certainly influenced the game. Think of Seabelo Senatla’s overhead-offload that he brilliantly got away to Huw Jones milliseconds before being driven into touch to set up a try. That was superb. Then there were also Damian Willemse’s dink pass over the top to Jones that set up Dillyn Leyds’ try in the corner, and Nizaam Carr’s cut down the blindside after the scrum to put Wiese away ... all those occurrences were moments that had a big impact on Province winning the match - not the only moments, but certainly some of the biggest ones.
Champions last night. Can't believe I woke up a champion this morning. S/O to @RuhanNel7 for 3/3. A wonderful year for you brother!!!