Western Province book home Currie Cup semifinal
Western Province scripted a remarkable second-half comeback to book a Currie Cup home semifinal with a 31-20 victory over the Sharks at Kings Park yesterday.
It should have been a magical 249th Sharks match for Odwa Ndungane and when the Sharks led 13-3 at the break, the fates seemed to be smiling on the hosts.
However, a Robert du Preez brace and tries from Dewaldt Duvenage and JD Schickerling cut the hosts down to size and condemned them to a first home loss.
With their bonus-point win, Province moved from 32 to 37 points, rendering events at Ellis Park irrelevant.
In what was a sleep-inducing first half, the Sharks had their noses in front thanks to a Marius Louw try in the fourth minute along with three-pointers from Curwin Bosch's boot. With the Sharks dominating possession and territory in the early stages, they had little to show for their efforts as the final pass hardly went to hand.
Louw's try was a case of the Sharks putting pressure on Province at lineout time before the inside centre collected a sharp pass from scrumhalf Michael Claassens.
Attacking accuracy was also missing from the visitors as they gradually took charge of the match without making meaningful dents on the Sharks' defence.The 30 first-half handling errors with Province committing 17 told the story of a first 40 minutes that tried to splutter into life but choked at the same time.
While there was a wind that made things difficult for the tactical kickers, it seemed the ball was immersed in soapy water before the match, such was the high error rate.
Province's first-half points came through Du Preez junior's boot as he impressed his namesake father who coaches the Sharks with 21 points. The former turned it on in the second half with two converted tries in four minutes (54th and 58th) to erase the deficit.
Duvenage then sealed Province's home semifinal berth with a 70th-minute try that gave the visitors an 11-point buffer. Shickerling's try a minute later snuffed out comeback hopes despite Kobus van Wyk's late try for the hosts. - Own Correspondent..