Heavy rain and lightning led to the match being abandoned at halftime, but that was enough for Western Province to pull off a 34-7 bonus-point win over the Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
The 5.15pm start was already delayed by 15 minutes due to lightning, and even after kickoff commenced at 5.30pm, the rain continued to fall.
It didn’t stop Province from dominating, though, with their pack of forwards – including Springbok tighthead prop Wilco Louw in his 50th WP game – totally obliterating the Bulls scrum.
Penalty after penalty ensured, with wing SP Marais slotting one through the posts, before the pressure told and WP were awarded a penalty try by referee Egon Seconds as the Bulls scrum disintegrated once again.
Bulls loosehead prop Matthys Basson was yellow-carded by Seconds, and that just added to the nightmare for the home side.
Marais added another three points, before the Bulls hit back through loose forward Ruan Steenkamp, who forced his way over as his finally put some phases together.
But on the half-hour mark, the Province scrum machine powered forward once more, and Kobus van Dyk dived over to extend the WP lead to 20-7.
The Bulls’ bad luck resulted in an almost immediate try, with Tinus de Beer unable to control the ball on the drenched surface, which saw Sergeal Petersen pounce to score his eighth try of the tournament.
With the rain bucketing down, Seconds was urging the players to get a move on so that the first half could be completed and a result declared.
Province, though, needed the all-important bonus-point try to make sure of finishing on top of the log, no matter what the final result was, and replacement loose forward Jaco Coetzee – on for Sikhumbuzo Notshe – break through from a lineout maul to dive over.
The officials decided at the halftime break to call off proceedings, which saw Province awarded the victory.
WP will host the same Bulls in next Saturday’s semi-final at Newlands, while the Sharks will face the Golden Lions in Durban after they beat Griquas 41-11 earlier on Saturday.
Blue Bulls 7 – Tries: Ruan Steenkamp. Conversion: Tinus de Beer.
Western Province 34 – Tries: Penalty Try, Kobus van Dyk, Sergeal Petersen, Jaco Coetzee. Conversions: SP Marais (3). Penalties: Marais (2).
Semi-Final Line-Up (Saturday, October 20)
2.30pm: Sharks v Lions, Kings Park
5pm: Western Province v Blue Bulls, Newlands@ashfakmohamed