DHL Western Province, despite a brave second-half fightback, went down to the unbeaten Golden Lions by 24-32 in the 2015 Absa Currie Cup Final in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Province trailed by 10-22 at half-time and outscored their hosts by 14-10 and two tries to one in the second half, but will rue a slow start to the first half which saw them trail by 0-14 after 20 minutes and 3-19 six minutes before the break.
DHL WP flyhalf Robert du Preez scored his team’s opening try, late in the first half, also adding two conversions and a penalty goal. Province’s other tries were scored by loose forwards Nizaam Carr and Sikhumbuzo Notshe.
New coach John Dobson can feel well proud of his team’s achievements in 2015, which saw them finish third on the overall log and then beat the Vodacom Blue Bulls (away) in last weekend’s semifinal.
Dobson told the www.wprugby.com website afterwards: “Our first-half errors cost us a bit in the end, as we were chasing things a bit (in the end).
“We gave them a lot of momentum in the beginning, but, there’s no question about it – the Lions deserve this… they deserve to be the 2015 champions.
“I don’t think the players are too sure either (about those mistakes), but part of our goal and aims this year was to bring young guys through and they will be better for it.”
Disappointed DHL WP skipper Juan de Jongh added: “It’s not nice not getting the result. It didn’t go our way but we have to give credit where credit is due.
“They started well and we started fighting back but it was just one of those days in the end. They put us under a lot of pressure… we were quiet in the first half but they capitalised on that.”
For the Xerox Golden Lions:
Tries: Whiteley, Cronje 2, Janse van Rensburg
Cons: Boshoff 3
Pens: Boshoff 2
For DHL Western Province:
Tries: Du Preez, Carr, Notshe
Cons: Du Preez 2, Coleman
Pen: Du Preez
Golden Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Courtnall Skosan, 13 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Albertus Smith, 6 Jaco Kriel (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Lourens Erasmus, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Fabian Booysen, 19 Stephan de Witt, 20 Jaco van der Walt, 21 Nicolaas Hanekom, 22 Sampie Mastriet.
DHL Western Province: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Juan de Jongh (captain), 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Michael Willemse, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Chris van Zyl, 19 Jurie van Vuuren, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Kurt Coleman, 22 Huw Jones.
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant referees: Stuart Berry, Jason Jaftha
TMO: Marius Jonker