Western Province completed a dream season, streaking to a 28-19 victory against Griquas in the inaugural SuperSport Rugby Challenge final.
The 11th consecutive victory for John Dobson’s team secured R500 000 in prize money and placed some new silverware in the Newlands trophy cabinet.
The final, played in front of a capacity crowd at Florida Park in Ravensmead, delivered an entertaining spectacle. The home team hit the heavy turf of this community venue running and blitzed Griquas with four tries in the first half.
It took 15 minutes before veteran WP winger Bjorn Basson crossed the line, and then a golden spell of three converted tries in the next 20 minutes appeared to have settled the contest.
Fellow winger Marcello Sampson scored a brace during that period, with Jurie van Vuuren also getting in on the action with a nicely taken try under the sticks, after some good interplay by his fellow forwards.
Despite finding themselves in a 28-0 hole at the break, Griquas never stopped playing and, in the second half, showed why they made it all the way to the final.
A yellow card to WP lock JD Schickerling gave the visitors the edge they were looking for with half an hour to go and, after a number of attacks on the WP tryline, it was prop Nicolaas Oosthuizen who found the gap to score, converted by replacement flyhalf, Andre Swarts.
A second try, this time by outside centre, Koch Marx, was another reward for the Kimberley side playing the numbers game and gave them more momentum into the last quarter of the match.
The visitors kept WP honest and made a game of it with a late try to Tertius Kruger, again converted by Swarts, cutting the deficit to nine points, but WP’s defence held on to secure the win.
SuperSport Rugby Challenge Final:
Western Province 28 (28), Griquas 19 (0)
WP – Tries: Bjorn Basson, Marcello Sampson (2), Jurie van Vuuren, Conversions: Kurt Coleman (4).
Griquas – Tries: Nicolaas Oosthuizen, Koch Marx, Tertius Kruger. Conversions: Andre Swarts (2).
Shaun Reynolds (Golden Lions) 138
Oliver Zono (Border) 101
George Whitehead (87)
Frank Herne (Pumas) 9
Enver Brandt (Griquas) 9
Craig Barry (Western Province) 8