Pretoria News

Western Province hold off gutsy Griffons


IT TOOK them about 40 minutes to really go through the gears in Welkom, but Western Province did enough in the second half to keep out a tough Griffons side yesterday to score a bonus-point 25-21 victory.

They scored four entertaining tries, taking them to the fourth spot on the Currie Cup log after leapfrogging Griquas, who still have to play against the Blue Bulls.

Several mistakes, including handling errors and countless penalties, especially at the breakdown, prevented both teams from getting a foothold in the game in the first half.

The home side defended mostly, but they were good at stopping WP attacks just as the visitors looked dangerous.

What was frustrating for the Purple People Eaters, as the Griffons are affectionately known, is that they could not convert attacking opportunities when they had them.

Province, on the other hand, had plenty of opportunities to put the game to bed in the first half, but they too struggled to finish attacks in good field positions.

Wrong options hampered them, as well as a couple of lost line-out throws, but towards the end of the first half things started going the way of the visitors.

They scored two tries through flanker Jarrod Taylor and hooker Andrehugo Venter, who pounced after a wayward Griffons line-out, while a penalty by fullback Clayton Blommetjies made the score 13-0 at halftime.

Two more tries through captain Jean-luc du Plessis and scrumhalf Thomas Bursey made the score 25-0 after 50 minutes, as Province had all the momentum thanks to the tries just before half-time.

But the home side refused to roll over and die as they fought back brilliantly to give their more fancied opponents a big scare.

A host of changes and a yellow card for WP prop Kwenso Blose swung the momentum in the Griffons’ favour. Blose was sent off after repeated infringements by his team with the home side on the attack.

They scored two tries when Western Province were a man down and had their tails in the air, looking to take the game back from the visitors.

And they almost achieved this after a maul resulted in a try by their replacement hooker, HP van Schoor. Since he joined the action in the first half, he was a thorn in Province’s side.

Van Schoor’s try made the score 25-21, with the men from Cape Town having to defend for their lives in the dying minutes of the match.

Good defence, some haplessness on the attack by the home side, and a crucial turnover at a breakdown restored the momentum to the visitors.

After a brilliant pressure-relieving kick, Blommetjies decided to make it a quick line-out throw when all his team had to do was run down the clock with the line-out, win the ball and kick it out.

Blommetjies’s brain fart opened the door for the Griffons to launch one more attack, but luckily another crucial turnover at the breakdown, when the home side just had to pass the ball out wide for an overlap, sealed the game for WP.





African News Agency