Western Province advanced to the final of the Vodacom Cup by beating the Pumas 33-20 in their semi-final at Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday.
Province led 23-12 at half-time and had the upper hand throughout as they delivered a polished all-round performance featuring powerful forward play and endeavour by the backline.
For their part the Pumas were very direct in their approach, but they could not bash it up hard enough to trouble WP’s defence. They were largely dependent on the boot of fullback JC Roos, who struck five penalties.
The opening exchanges were keenly contested and the Pumas struck the opening blow through Roos in the eighth minute. However, that was the only time they had the lead.
Demetri Catrakilis got WP level before hooker Sidney Tobias bashed his way over the try-line after an impressive rolling maul.
Province also used their backline to good effect against the Pumas’s big men and left wing Ederies Arendse finished five minutes before half-time after the ball had been moved from side to side.
Catrakilis added another penalty before the interval and at 12-23 down it was difficult to see a way back for the Pumas.
They got a lifeline 35 seconds into the second half through captain JW Jonker’s try after WP were caught asleep at the kick-off.
But Province soon got themselves out of range again.
Catrakilis struck a penalty minutes after Jonker’s try and WP were again two scores ahead of the Pumas.
Roos again got the Pumas within reach, but WP struck the decisive blow 15 minutes before the end through a push-over try, which skipper Nic Fenton-Wells rounded off.
While the Pumas were outgunned, they could not be faulted for effort.
They laid siege to WP’s goalline in the final 10 minutes, but were undone through a combination of their own errors and the home side’s manful defence.
There were a number of good performances on the WP side, with Berton Klaasen catching the eye in midfield and Catrakilis again impressing with his boot.
Tobias was prominent in the tight loose and his prop colleagues Tom Botha, Schalk Ferreira and Deon Carstens all deserve to be singled out for providing the strength in a dominant scrum.
It’s now onward to Kimberley, where WP face Griquas in the final.
Western Province – Tries: Sidney Tobias, Ederies Arendse, Nic Fenton-Wells. Conversions: Demetri Catrakilis (3). Penalties:
Pumas – Try: JW Jonker. Penalties: JC Roos (5)