Western Province used their chances better and made fewer mistakes than the Blue Bulls as they beat the home side 23-18 in their Currie Cup semi-final at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria.
The visitors scored the only two tries of the match thanks to the opportunistic nous, quick hands and feet of fullback Cheslin Kolbe, and it was a deserved victory as they dominated territory and their pack had the edge up front.
“We got off the canvas after taking sixty points up here in Johannesburg two weeks ago and having a horror half-hour against the Bulls when we last played them here, but that was an aberration and we deserved to win in the end. It was very frustrating at times because the Bulls defended well, but Cheslin is one of those slightly predatory players and in semi-finals those are the things that turn games,” Western Province coach John Dobson said after his team secured their place in a fourth successive Currie Cup final.
“They used their one opportunity and scored and from then on we were playing catch-up rugby, which causes you to make mistakes,” Blue Bulls coach Nollis Marais said. “But we should never have turned over the ball on attack. We should have played better, we made mistakes in the second half, we lost opportunities and a couple of calls went against us.”
Marais conceded that Western Province’s more experienced pack continued to have the edge over his young forwards.
“If you’re not getting your set-piece ball then you feel under attack and you lose confidence. We made too many mistakes so we weren’t as fluent as we wanted to be, and the Western Province defence got even better at the end,” he said.
Dobson gave credit to former Springbok Sevens coach Paul Treu for his side’s stout defensive work.
“In the last 10-15 minutes our defence closed the game, to not concede a try at Loftus Versfeld is a great achievement. Credit to Paul Treu for the work he has done; the defence really showed the character of the team,” Dobson said.