Province power into play-offs

SIMON BORCHARDT saw Western Province thrash the Free State Cheetahs 36-15 at Newlands to set up a Currie Cup semi-final against the Golden Lions at Ellis Park.

The hosts had a simple objective coming into this match – win to get into the play-offs and remove the possibility of having to play two promotion-relegation matches against the EP Kings (which the last-placed Cheetahs will now almost certainly have to do).

WP welcomed back seven Springboks and Free State two, which became one on the 23-minute mark when tighthead prop Coenie Oosthuizen left the field with what appeared to be a back or neck injury.

Province’s first two tries were both scored by Boks, with Jean de Villiers diving over in the right-hand corner after a clever chip kick from Gerhard van den Heever had been collected by Nick Groom 10 phases earlier, while Andries Bekker was perhaps lucky to get the green light from the TMO after he seemed to lose the ball over the line.

When flanker Deon Fourie was driven over from a rolling maul just before half-time, the hosts were out to a 22-3 lead. WP coach Allister Coetzee clearly thought the win was in the bag as he substituted Bekker soon after.

Province added another two tries in the third quarter, though Fourie and No 8 Duane Vermeulen, before flanker Francois Uys and replacement back Philip Snyman scored for the Cheetahs in the final five minutes to repair some of the damage to their points difference (as far as the log is concerned).