DHL Western Province moved to the top of the Absa Currie Cup log with an impressive 25-19 win over the Sharks at DHL Newlands on Saturday night.
DHL WP scored three tries in front of a lively crowd of 18,497 to finish the first half of the 2013 Currie Cup season in first place with three wins – and two draws – from five starts.
Province's tries were scored by outside centre Juan de Jongh, new crowd favourite Cheslin Kolbe and fullback Gio Aplon, with the Sharks answering back through second-half tries by Lwazi Mvovo, Jacques Botes and Kyle Cooper.
The home side led by 15-0 at half-time, thanks to De Jongh and Kolbe's first-half tries and the accurate boot of Kurt Coleman, with Aplon's wonderful individual effort on the 60-minute mark effectively sealing the victory for WP who bossed the match in every facet of play.
The only question in the final twenty minutes was whether or not DHL Western Province would get the four-try bonus point. And although they never achieved that fourth try, the hosts were well-deserved winners.
In the end, the try-count was three each – after a try on the stroke of full-time by replacement Sharks hooker Cooper – which gave the visitors a losing bonus point, but Province can be well satisfied with their night's work at DHL Newlands.
Fullback Aplon, who scored a cracking second-half try, walked off with the official Man of the Match honours, but he will be the first to thank those around him – in particular hooker Scarra Ntubeni, lock Michael Rhodes, captain Deon Fourie and fellow speedster Kolbe.
For DHL Western Province:
Tries: De Jongh, Kolbe, Aplon
Cons: Coleman, Van Aswegen
Pens: Coleman 2
For the Sharks:
Tries: Mvovo, Botes, Cooper
Cons: Zeilinga 2
DHL Western Province: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Kurt Coleman, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8
Nizaam Carr, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Deon Fourie (captain), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Michael Rhodes, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Michael Willemse, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Gerbrandt Grobler, 19 Rohan Kitshoff, 20 Nic Groom, 21 Gary van Aswegen, 22 Michael van der Spuy.
The Sharks: 15 SP Marais, 14 Sizo Maseko, 13 Louis Ludik, 12 Tim Whitehead, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Butch James, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Jacques Botes (captain), 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 Peet Marais, 3 Rayno Gerber, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Danie Mienie.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Edwin Hewitt, 19 Justin Downey, 20 Charl McLeod, 21 Fred Zeilinga, 22 Jaco van Tonder.
Referee: Craig Joubert