DHL Western Province fought bravely but could not avoid a 17-12 defeat against the Cell C Sharks in the Currie Cup Final at DHL Newlands on Saturday.
It was a bruising, low-scoring affair at DHL Newlands, which saw the visitors score the only two tries of the match to claim the title from the defending champions.
The opening exchanges were tense as the sun beat down, with both teams spending time in the 22 without being able to capitalise.
The first points came from the boot of DHL Western Province wing SP Marais, who landed a penalty after 20 minutes to give the home side the lead.
DHL Western Province then had to show some serious commitment on defence, holding up admirably and surviving two try referrals to the TMO.
They doubled their lead with a second Marais penalty just before half-time, to take a 6-0 lead into the break after a tryless first half.
The visitors went in front just after half-time with the first try of the game from hooker Akker van der Merwe, which was converted by flyhalf Rob du Preez to make it 7-6.
DHL Western Province were back in front shortly afterwards with a third Marais penalty which followed a clever kick from Damian Willemse and a line-out steal from Chris van Zyl.
The lead changed hands again with Du Preez kicking a penalty after his brother had lost the ball forward in the act of scoring.
They extended that lead further when flank Tyler Paul barged over for a try, but the home side managed to bring themselves back within range with a penalty from Damian Willemse five minutes from time.
DHL Western Province pushed hard for the win in the final stages, but it was not to be as the Cell C Sharks held on to win.
For DHL Western Province:
Pens: Marais 3, Willemse
For Cell C Sharks:
Tries: Van der Merwe, Paul
Cons: Du Preez 2
Pen: Du Preez
DHL Western Province: 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Damian Willemse, 11 SP Marais, 10 Josh Stander, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Ernst van Rhyn, 6 Kobus van Dyk, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl (captain), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ali Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Michael Kumbirai, 19 Salmaan Moerat, 20 Jaco Coetzee, 21 Justin Phillips, 22 Dan Kriel, 23 JJ Engelbrecht.
Cell C Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 S’bu Nkosi, 13 Jeremy Ward, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Aphelele Fassi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder (captain), 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Tyler Paul, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Gideon Koegelenberg, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Juan Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Jacques Vermeulen, 20 Luke Stringer, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Kobus van Wyk, 23 Leolin Zas.