The table-topping DHL Western Province Under-21 team suffered a major scare in their Absa Provincial Under-21 semifinal, before edging out the Golden Lions by 44-41 in extra-time at DHL Newlands.
The visiting Golden Lions Under-21s, beaten twice already this season Province, led 20-19 at half-time but the WP Juniors looked
to have the game sewn up going into the final 15 minutes when they led 34-20.
However, the Lions staged a spirited fightback to take the game into extra-time, with the scores tied at 34-34 after regulation time – WP having won the try battle after 80 minutes by five to four and, eventually, by six to five after a total of 100 minutes of rugby.
Replacement WP Under-21 flanker Eital Bredenkamp scored his team's first points of extra-time, a try from a powerful rolling maul, before Swiel landed a penalty in the second half of extra-time to make the game safe.
The Lions, as they did at the end of regulation time, scored deep into 'extra' extra-time but the home side had done enough to, deservedly, progress to the 2013 Final.
Swiel, the leading points-scorer in the Provincial U21 tournament this season, contributed 19 points (one try, four conversions and two penalties), with WP's other tries coming from hooker Michael Willemse, fullback Dillyn Leyds, right-wing Craig Barry and Bredenkamp who scored twice.
The DHL WP Under-21s qualified for a home semifinal after winning 11 from 12 matches in the regular season, which saw them pick up 54 log points – 13 points ahead of their nearest challengers in second place. In the process, the Province Under-21s scored a massive 478 points and conceded just 193.
However, the team suffered some injury blows in their final league match in Durban last week, which saw coach John Dobson make nine changes – three of them positional – ahead of today's knockout match.
WP, however, showed a lot of guts to keep their title hopes alive and will take on the Bulls in next weekend's final – a repeat of last year's season finale.
The DHL Western Province Under-21 scorers:
Tries: Willemse, Leyds, Barry, Swiel, Bredenkamp 2
Cons: Swiel 4
Pens: Swiel 2
The DHL Western Province Under-21 team (v Lions): 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Craig Barry, 13 Johnny Kotze, 12 Pat Howard, 11 Devon Williams, 10 Tim Swiel, 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Josh Katzen (captain), 6 Justin Benn, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Entienne Swanepoel, 2 Michael Willemse, 1 Justin Ackerman.
Replacements: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Deacon Chowles, 18 Carel du Preez, 19 Eital Bredenkamp, 20 Jean Nel, 21 JP Lewis, 22 Janco Gunter.
Referee: Jaco van Heerden