WP and Sharks claim home semi-finals
October 3, 2009
Western Province flanker Luke Watson celebrates one of his three tries against Boland © Getty Images
Western Province secured a home semi-final in this season's Currie Cup with a 50-7 thrashing of Boland Cavaliers at Newlands on Saturday.
The hosts ran in seven tries on their way to a bonus point win that means they cannot finish any worse than second place in the table. Captain Luke Watson led the way with a hat-trick of tries while fullback Joe Pietersen weighed in with 15 points with the boot. Hooker Tiaan Libenberg and lock Andries Bekker also crossed for tries as Western Province racked up their 10th win of the season.
Natal Sharks also secured a home draw in the last four thanks to a 19-17 victory over the Lions in Durban that ended the latter's play-off hopes.
A late penalty from Sharks scrum-half Ruan Pienaar finally overhauled the brave Lions but they drop to second in the table behind WP on points difference. If the positions remain the same after the final round of matches the Cape Town-based side would claim home advantage for the final should both sides progress.
The Sharks' Bismarck du Plessis and the Lions Chris Jonck both crossed for first half tries but the hosts led 16-11 at the break thanks to the boot of Pienaar and a drop goal from Juan Martin Hernandez. Lions fly-half Herkie Kruger reduced the deficit after the break and they took the lead with a quarter of an hour remaining but were unable to hold on for what would have been a shock victory.
Elsewhere, the Blue Bulls handed the Griquas a 61-27 defeat in Pretoria to book their place in the post-season. The hosts ran in a total of eight tries to cement third place in the table while the Griquas snatched a losing bonus point to strengthen their grip on fourth place.
Springboks fly-half Morne Steyn and fellow international Bryan Habana both notched two tries apiece with Zane Kirchner, Danie Rossouw, Pierre Spies and Bandisa Maku also getting on the scoreboard. Steyn finished with a personal tally of 29 points thanks to five conversions and three penalties with Francois Bummer also notching a conversion.
Tries from Sarel Pretorius, Davon Raubenheimer, Barry Geel and Naas Olivier saw the visitors claim some reward for their efforts with the latter also adding two conversions and a penalty.
The Cheetahs kept their Currie Cup play-off hopes alive with a thumping 60-17 victory over the Leopards in Bloemfontein on Friday night.
The home side bounced back from an early 10-0 deficit to rack up eight tries and 60 unanswered points to lift them to fifth place in the table and nearer a semi-final berth with one round of matches remaining. The visitors opened the scoring with a penalty from scrum-half Jean Tiedt and they stretched their lead when Emerging Bok centre Deon van Rensburg crossed for the games opening try.
Two penalties from Cheetahs fly-half Jacques-Louis Potgieter reduced the arrears before he put his side ahead with a try - only to injure himself in the process. Further pressure led to a try for No.8 Ashley Johnson before the break. Flanker Hendro Scholtz was the next to cross and his back-row colleague Frans Viljoen ensured the vital bonus point. Tighthead prop WP Nel, centre Meyer Bosman, winger Jongi Nokwe and captain Nico Breedt all added tries as the Leopards fell away.