DHL Western Province suffered a 7-25 Vodacom Cup, Round Two defeat to an experienced Sharks XV in Durban on Saturday afternoon.
John Dobson’s Province team opened their 2014 Vodacom Cup campaign with a 16-8 win over Boland last weekend, but the 2012 champions were unable to come away with any points against their more experienced opponents today.
The hosts ran in two second-half tries, through experienced loose forwards Keegan Daniel and Jacques Botes to end the stubborn resistance from Province who had battled manfully in the first half to contain the powerful home team.
The first 15 minutes belonged almost exclusively to the hosts as their forward pack enjoyed a marked advantage in the scrums.
The Sharks XV opened the scoring in the ninth minute when powerfully-built inside centre Andre Esterhuizen crashed over from close-range for a converted try.
The home team enjoyed a territorial and possession advantage in the stop-start first-half but they were let down by their finishing while the Western Province XV displayed some outstanding scrambling defence.
The visitors turned down two kickable penalty chances in the first half, opting to set up attacking line-outs, but the tactic failed to pay dividends.
However, the visitors finally levelled the match in the 39th minute when left-wing Devon Williams set off on a jinking run from deep inside his own half before putting in a deft cross kick which allowed right-wing Jean-Paul Lewis to win the chase to the ball to score a converted try as the two teams went to the break locked at 7-7.
The Sharks XV adopted a more conservative game plan at the start of the first half as they relied on the boot of flyhalf Fred Zeilinga to pin Province in their own half.
Zeilinga gave his team the lead, in the 51st minute, with a successful penalty kick before eighthman Daniel muscled his way over from a scrum five metres from DHL Western Province’s tryline as the Sharks XV opened up a 17-7 lead after 55 minutes.
The hosts were rampant and veteran flank Botes slid over in the left-hand corner a minute later after some wonderful interplay between the backs and forwards. Zeilinga missed the difficult conversion attempt but made amends with a successful penalty kick in the 62nd minute.
DHL WP were forced into making crucial changes ahead of this game, with scrumhalf Godlen Masimla picking up a serious wrist injury and reserve prop Os Hamman suffering a season-ending leg injury against Boland.
Hooker Stephan Coetzee was also not available for the Sharks game, having joined the DHL Stormers squad in New Zealand, with Eital Bredenkamp starting at hooker and Dylon Frylinck, a member of last year’s Emerging WP team, starting at scrumhalf – both Bredenkamp and Frylinck making their starting debuts at this level.
Hooker Chad Solomon, prop Christo ‘Tiny’ van Wyk, scrumhalf Gerhard Jordaan and outside back Adrian Roberts all joined the bench this week, with centre/wing Pat Howard still sidelined with a hamstring injury and utility back Ryno Eksteen (knee) also unavailable because of injury.
Western Province will host the Eastern Province Kings in Vodacom Cup, Round Three action at City Park next Saturday (kick-off 15h30). DHL Newlands season ticket holders are reminded that their tickets are valid for this match.
For the Sharks XV:
Tries: Esterhuizen, Daniel, Botes
Cons: Zeilinga 2
Pens: Zeilinga 2
For DHL Western Province:
Con: Van Aswegen
The DHL WP team: 15 Tiger Bax, 14 JP Lewis, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Michael van der Spuy, 11 Devon Williams, 10 Gary van Aswegen, 9 Dylon Frylinck, 8 Rayn Smid, 7 Sikhumbuzo Nothse, 6 Rohan Kitshoff (captain), 5 Jan Uys, 4 Tazz Fuzani, 3 Entienne Swanepoel, 2 Eital Bredenkamp, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Christo van Wyk, 18 Carel du Preez, 19 Reuben Johannes, 20 Gerhard Jordaan, 21 Kyle Lombard, 22 Adrian Roberts.
Referee: Jaco van Heerden