Western Province were grateful for the services of ace goalkicker Tim Swiel as they edged out the Sharks 32-31 in their Currie Cup match in Cape Town on Wednesday evening, the flyhalf succeeding with all eight of his kicks at goal.
Western Province were outscored four tries to two by the Sharks, but Swiel’s man-of-the-match display ensured they were in the lead for almost the whole game.
The Sharks led twice, taking a 21-19 lead into half-time after a sensational run by wing Thaakir Abrahams from his own 22, set up scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse for his second try; and then flyhalf Curwin Bosch kicked an easy ruck penalty to put them 31-29 up with just four minutes remaining.
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But as happened so often in the game, the Sharks messed up the restart, being penalised for hands in the ruck, and Swiel nailed the kick to make the final score 32-31.
Hard-working flank Thembelani Bholi won a turnover penalty in the final minute, only for Bosch to kick the ball dead, with Western Province then stealing the lineout throw to notch their first win at Cape Town Stadium.
Western Province fullback Sergeal Petersen had an elegant response to the half-time deficit as he cut the line soon after the restart and then passed to powerhouse eighthman Evan Roos, who muscled over the tryline with only scrumhalf Hendrikse fighting a lone and futile battle to try and bring him down.
It was yet another moment of sloppiness by a Sharks side who played some beautiful rugby but were beaten by a team that simply made fewer mistakes.
Not even dominating the lineouts and scrums could win the game for the visitors, who dominated territory and possession. That allowed them plenty of opportunities to maul from the lineout, from which three of their tries came, but Western Province’s new-look side proved their character by winning against the run of play.
Western Province: Tries – Paul de Wet, Evan Roos. Conversions – Tim Swiel (2). Penalties – Swiel (6).
Sharks: Tries – Thembelani Bholi, Jaden Hendrikse (2), Fez Mbatha. Conversions – Curwin Bosch (4). Penalty – Bosch.