Western Province secured a bonus-point victory over their neighbours, the SWD Eagles, but had to fend off a late onslaught by the team to win 34-27 (halftime 20-13) on Saturday.
Province led 20-13 at the break and scored two tries in the second half to stretch their lead to 34-13 before a comeback by the Eagles almost cost them the game. The Western Province defensive effort was outstanding throughout the game but the team slacked in the last few minutes of the second half to allow the Eagles to get back in the game.
South Western Districts opened the scoring via a penalty by centre Jeff Taljard after a sustained period of attack in the Western Province half. Minutes later their full back Alshaun Bock scored the first try of the match after WP flyhalf Kurt Coleman made an error when he kicked possession away. Bock fielded the ball, chipping the defence and collecting the ball. He dashed for the corner with the cover defence too late to stop him. Taljard failed to convert from the sideline.
Western Province had to wait almost 20 minutes to score their first points when Coleman kicked a penalty in front of the poles. The home team finally found their rhythm and minutes later eightman Rayn Smid went over for his team’s first try. Coleman converted to give Province the lead for the first time in the match.
Western Province centre Berton Klaasen added his name to the scoring sheet when he went over for a try with Coleman converting to extend Province's lead. Cheslin Kolbe, who had an outstanding game at fullback for WP, made an error and missed a tackle on the SWD winger Clinton Wagman, who scored to get his team back in the game. The Eagles failed to score from quite a few chances which probably cost them the game.
Both teams scored two tries in an uneventful second half with the Eagles also securing their bonus point, but it was the late effort by the Eagles against a tiring Western Province outfit that almost took the game from the home side.
WESTERN PROVINCE: Tries: Rayn Smid, Sikhumbizo Notshe, Berton Klaasen, Kobus van Wyk. Conversions: Kurt Coleman (4). Penalties: Coleman (2).
SWD EAGLES: Tries: Alshaun Bock, Clinton Wagman, Ghafoer Luckman, Christo du Plessis. Conversions: Jeff Taljard (2). Penalty Taljard.