Western Province may have unearthed a new superstar in Cheslin Kolbe.
The diminutive fullback scored two delightful tries as they beat Griquas 21-13 in their Vodacom Cup quarterfinal at Newlands on Saturday.
While a big performance at Vodacom Cup level is not necessarily an indication that a player will flourish when he takes a few steps up, Kolbe is certainly rich in promise.
Province were down 0-10 with halftime approaching when Kolbe conjured up something out of nothing as he spun out of a few tackles to score under the posts.
He was then lifted and thrown to the ground by the Griquas shortly after the restart, which led to the visitors’ No 8 Leon Karemaker getting yellow-carded.
Province opted to set up a lineout drive from the ensuing penalty and flyhalf Kurt Coleman stepped up for the kick after Griquas transgressed.
The teams were tied 10-all at halftime, but WP had clearly gained the initiative.
Griquas then learned a painful lesson inside the first minute of the second half after the ball was cleared from their 22-metre area down Kolbe’s throat.
The fullback sped past two defenders before swerving his way through to the tryline. Coleman couldn’t convert, but added two more penalties as WP pushed home their advantage.
Their 21 unanswered points proved more than enough as Griquas struggled to hold onto the ball and didn’t have the imagination to unlock WP’s defence.
Griquas did all the running up until five minutes before halftime when flank Marnus Schoeman scored on the back of their seventh visit to WP’s 22-metre area.
That statistic was a telling one as they failed to convert their pressure into points in the first half.
Griquas’ biggest failing was their inability to do anything else than opt for route one on attack. While they had an advantage in size, they failed to barge their way through WP barring the one time that Schoeman slipped through.
Province were happy to pick off the big runners and also did very well to stop Griquas’ lineout drives.
There was no Plan B for the visitors and WP ultimately saw out the game without too much of a fuss.
WP - Tries: Cheslin Kolbe (2). Conversion: Kurt Coleman. Penalties: Coleman (3).
Griquas - Try: Marnus Schoeman. Conversion: Pieter-Steyn de Wet. Penalties: De Wet (2).