Western Province turn up the heat in freezing Durban to sneak into Currie Cup semi-final
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DURBAN - The weather was Arctic but the action red hot at Jonsson Kings Park as the Sharks and Western Province produced a thriller in the very last match of the Currie Cup round-robin stage, with the Capetonians’ 35-24 bonus-point win sneaking them into next week’s semi-finals.
Province came to Durban on a mission to salvage what has been a poor campaign for them, knowing that to edge up from fifth on the log into fourth —at the expense of the Pumas — they would have to win and score at least four tries.
They looked on track for most of the match but with ten minutes to go they found themselves three points adrift and still short of a try, but supersub JJ Kotze sorted that one out when he muscled over with five minutes left and then, after the hooter had gone, with the Sharks pressing for a score to win the game, wing Edwill van derMerwe intercepted to make the game safe.
Province now play the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld in one semi-final while the Sharks will host Griquas in the other.
WP started with a flourish, scoring two tries in the opening 15 minutes by Dan Du Plessis, the first after seven minutes when scrumhalf Paul de Wet took a quick tap penalty inside the Sharks’ 22 to set up up the centre and the second was a neat finish by Du Plessis when he followed up his own grubber to gather and score in the corner.
Tim Swiel converted both for a promising 14-3 lead, Curwin Bosch having kicked a penalty for the Sharks who, in contrast to the visitors, were content to take penalty shots at goal.
The Sharks exhibited brilliant skills when Sanele Nohamba broke and offloaded superbly and then there was slick handling from Bosch and Phepsi Buthlezi before Yaw Penxe scored at the corner flag.
FT | Cell C Sharks 24-35 DHL Western Province— SuperSport 🏆 (@SuperSportTV) August 28, 2021
The Western Province advance to the semi-finals of the Currie Cup after they defeat the Cell C Sharks at Kings Park Stadium.#CurrieCup pic.twitter.com/SBVXtDbk4K
Nohamba was at it again ten minutes before halftime when his quick tap penalty set up Buthelezi — his former teammate at Durban High School — for a storming run to the posts.
The Sharks had their noses in front at half-time (17-14) but Province took the lead five minutes into the second half when the irrepressible De Wet darted over from close quarters.
With ten minutes to go the Sharks took the lead for the first time thanks to a fine break by Lionel Cronje who then chipped into the in-goal area where Penxe gathered and scored.
That set up the stage for Kotze to come on and produce his heroics.
Sharks - Tries: Yaw Penxe (2), Phepsi Buthelezi. Conversions: Curwin Bosch (3). Penalties: Bosch
Western Province - Tries: Dan du Plessis (2), Paul de Wet, JJ Kotze, Edwill van der Merwe. Conversions: Tim Swiel (3). Penalties: Swiel