WP wipe out Griquas

Vodacom Western Province booked their place in the playoffs with a resounding 55-17 victory over Griquas.

The WP speedsters were on song in this one-sided affair, with eight of their nine tries being scored by the backline.

The Cape Town side held a healthy 31-3 lead at the half, with both centre Corne Uys and winger Egon Seconds scoring a brace. The first try, however came from Joe Pietersen, who was full of running at the back this afternoon. The try was conjured in the midfield by Naas Olivier, who created the space in the Griquas defence finding Werner Greeff. Greeff then threw it out wide to Seconds who popped it to the speedy No 15 for the score in the corner.

Griquas answered right back with a Conrad Barnard penalty, but were disrupted when referee Jonathan Kaplan sent lock Lodie Britz to the sin bin.

Province scored 12 points in this period, which included some phenomenal stepping by Uys to beat three defenders en route to the tryline.The fourth and fifth try followed in quick succession, with Seconds and Uys scoring once again, and at halftime Province held a formidable 31-3 lead.

But the men from Kimberley finally breached the Province line when Tiger Mangweni crashed over early in the second half.This was achieved when Province were also a man down, having lost Pieter Louw for repeated infringements at the breakdown. Barnard nailed the touchline conversion to take narrow the deficit to three converted tries.

This comeback was shortlived, as Province began to grow in confidence as time progressed. Griquas began to fall off tackles and Luke Watson, who was once again outstanding in the loose, surged through for his eighth try of the season. Sireli Naqelevuki pick up a five-pointer with a typically-powerful leg drive from a few metres out, dragging two defenders over the line.

Griquas tried to reapply the pressure, but were thwarted when replacement Sarel Potgieter intercepted a loose pass and ran 80m to score the try which brought up the half century.

The visitors never gave up but were just no match for the prolific Capetonians, who picked up a further try through replacement scrumhalf Paul Delport. Griquas prop Eugene van Staden grabbed a consolation score at the death, but it has to be said that the Province players took their collective foot off the pedal in the final 15 to 20 minutes.

Should the Vodacom Blue Bulls defeat the Cheetahs tonight at Loftus Versfeld, Province will play the next match in Pretoria. But if the Bulls lose, WP will host the semi-final against the Sharks, who are likely to beat the Valke.

WP: Tries: Joe Pietersen, Corne Uys (2), Egon Seconds (2), Luke Watson, Sireli Naqelevuki, Sarel Potgieter, Paul Delport; Conversions: Naas Olivier (5).
Griquas: Tries: Tiger Mangweni, Eugene van Staden; Conversions: Conrad Barnard (2); Penalty: Barnard.

By Jon Cardinelli, at Newlands