CAPE TOWN – Day three of Craven Week in Paarl yesterday saw hosts and tournament favourites Western Province edge the Golden Lions 13-5 (halftime 6-5) to secure their place in the unofficial final on Saturday. Free State meet KwaZulu-Natal in the main game today with the victor taking on WP.
Province had to dig deep to get the better of a Lions team at Paarl Boys’ High.
It was a battle royal between two big, physical packs not willing to take a step backwards in the tight exchanges on a nippy afternoon. But it was the home side that ended up dominating territory and possession and also played the conditions far smarter than their opponents.
The Lions will rue missed chances throughout, especially in the second half when they laid siege to the Province try line without reward.
Province went 3-0 up in the sixth minute from a penalty goal from the boot of stand-in flyhalf Kade Wolhuter.
The Lions hit back with a try by Henco van Wyk that saw the big inside centre shred the Province defence with a weaving run.
Wolhuter put the hosts back in front by a point from a penalty and it stayed that way until the break.
The second half saw Province go 13-5 ahead thanks to a controlled attacking maul that propelled lock Adrian Alberts over the line.
The Lions then threw the kitchen sink at their opponents but could not find a way through a now resolute defence that was in no mood to surrender another point.
A great result for Province and now for the big game that awaits them.
In the earlier matches, the Blue Bulls XV began the day’s proceedings with a clinical 55-5 victory over Limpopo before the Pumas clobbered 2014 winners Eastern Province a 45-29.
Border then took on the Griffons in the penultimate game and cruised to a 52-12 victory.
Mike de Bruyn