Province grind out vital Bulls win
August 14, 2010
Conrad Jantjes is smashed by a Bulls tackle © Getty Images
Western Province remain undefeated in this season's Currie Cup after grinding out a vital 15-12 victory over the reigning champions, the Blue Bulls, at Newlands in Cape Town.
Province have been in miserly defensive form so far this season but were themselves blunted by a committed Bulls outfit who were under major pressure after losses to the Cheetahs and Sharks in recent rounds.
The home side scraped home thanks to five penalties from the ever-reliable Willem de Waal, who is a master of the swirling Cape Town conditions. He was engaged in a running battle with the Bulls' Jacques-Louis Potgieter, who just fell short of securing a share of the spoils with four shots from the tee.
Province had looked likely to capitalise at the tail end of the first half when Bulls wing Gerhard van den Heever was shown yellow for a high tackle, but gutsy defence from the visitors held waves of attack at bay and set up a nail-biting second half.
The Golden Lions showed admirable grit and determination to fight back and defeat the Cheetahs 30-26 at Ellis Park, with young fly-half Elton Jantjies starring.
His try five minutes from the end hauled the home side back into contention and a touchline conversion set up Jannie Boshoff to win a thrilling game with a last-gasp dive across the line from Michael Killian's chip ahead.
Second-half tries from Ashley Johnson and Kobus Calldo had put the Cheetahs in control despite a dire first-half effort, which yielded only one try for the Lions. Jantjies channelled his backs coach, former All Black Carlos Spencer, with an ambitious chip over the Cheetahs defence and wing Deon van Rensburg read it well to crash over.
The boot of Louis Strydom kept the Cheetahs in contention at the break and they made all the early running in the second half as Johnson scored from the base of a scrum, with Calldo's close-range effort apparently killing the tie off before Jantjies and Boshoff conjured a grandstand finish.
The Sharks kept the pressure on at the top of the Currie Cup table with a comfortable 51-6 victory over the Leopards at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Palace on Friday night.
The Durban side temporarily move top prior to Western Province's derby meeting with the Blue Bulls on Saturday and their dominance was clear to see over a tame Leopards outfit.
Skipper Stefan Terblanche led the way for the Sharks with two tries while Lwazi Mvovo, Patric Cilliers, Willem Alberts, Louis Ludik and Rory Kockott also chipped in with five-pointers.
Griquas bounced back from their recent humbling at the hands of Western Province with a welcome 58-25 demolition of the Pumas in Kimberley.
There were braces for fullback Riaan Viljoen and scrum-half Sarel Pretorius, while Rocco Jansen opened the scoring after getting a late call to replace Springbok Bjorn Basson on the wing. Cecil Kemp and Frikkie Spies barged over for tries to take the game away from the Pumas, who had shown promise in the early stages of the game and bagged tries of their own through the pacy Shaun Venter, fly-half Elgar Watts and flanker Alwyn Bester.
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt won the tactical battle and set his team on course for a shot at the Grand Slam. Tom Hamilton reports from Dublin
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