Western Province battered the Sharks 60-5 at the U18 Craven Week on Wednesday. MARIETTE ADAMS reports.
With a place in the unofficial final at stake, the clash between the hosts and the defending champions was billed as the match of the tournament to date. However, WP simply brushed the Sharks aside, scoring nine tries to one.
Province put on an exhibition – with forwards and backs contributing in equal measure – against the Sharks’ non-existent defence. In turn, the hosts looked short of ideas in the face of adversity and struggled to get over the gainline against Province’s organised defensive system. While WP ran riot from the start, it took the Sharks until the 48th minute to break their duck through centre Maartin Holtzhausen.
WP only had two five-plus phases in the match, but their ruthless attack and precise finishing saw them take the ball inside the 22 on 13 occasions compared to once by the Sharks. They also spread the ball to the wings eight times compared to the Sharks’ one.
Province’s day-one stars, Damian Willemse and Gianni Lombard, were kept surprisingly quiet for the majority of this contest, but such is the versatility of their team that it didn’t matter. Hooker Liam Larkan and inside centre Manie Rass were the destroyers-in-chief for WP both on attack and in defence.
WP started ominously when Rass made a big ball-and-all tackle to regain possession for his side and moments later they were in for the first of seven tries before the break.
Flank Muller Uys broke the deadlock in the fourth minute when he took a flat pass from Rass to score under the posts. Three minutes later, Lombard received the ball in midfield, ghosted through the Sharks defence and then drew in the fullback with a delayed pass to winger Mike Mavovana, who finished in the corner. That was followed by a third from Rass, who won the footrace in pursuit of Larkan’s grubber kick, for a 19-0 lead.
The Sharks looked shell-shocked and conceded four more tries before the interval as winger Muller du Plessis and Larkan each completed a first-half brace.
WP didn’t get complacent in the second half and continued to punish the Sharks.
Captain Salmaan Moerat clung on to an inside pass for a converted try to bring up a half century for his team before scrumhalf Deon Carstens rounded off the try-scoring with the final score.
The Sharks finally worked their way into the opposition 22 and reaped reward when Holtzhausen crashed over. A yellow-card offence by WP’s Quan Eymann opened a window of opportunity for the hosts, but they failed to capitalise.
In the end, Lombard capped it all off with a penalty goal that took his team to 60 points.
Sharks – Try: Maartin Holtzhausen.
Western Province – Tries: Muller Uys, Mike Mavovana, Manie Rass, Muller du Plessis (2), Liam Larkan (2), Salmaan Moerat, Deon Carstens. Conversions: Gianni Lombard (6). Penalty: Lombard.
Sharks – 15 Malakiwe Zondeki, 14 Onke Jiba, 13 Maartin Holtzhausen, 12 Mayibongwe Maduna, 11 Gideon Lubbe, 10 Cameron Ritchie, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 James Miller, 7 Jared Meyer, 6 Austin Brummer, 5 Juan van der Mescht, 4 Dylan Wiedeman, 3 Calvin Zamdamela, 2 Dylan Richardson, 1 Quintin Vorster.
Subs: 16 Fezokuhle Mbatha, 17 Gugu Nelani, 18 Reinier van Rooyen, 19 Luke Crowshaw, 20 Phendulani Buthelezi, 21 Sibona Dubazane, 22 Tonderai Ndudzo, 23 Angus Curtis.
Western Province – 15 Gianni Lombard, 14 Mike Mavovana, 13 Lubelo Scott, 12 Manie Rass, 11 Muller du Plessis, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Deon Carstens, 8 Khanya Ncusane, 7 Muller Uys, 6 Anthi Magwala, 5 Salmaan Moerat, 4 BJ Dixon, 3 Johan Neethling, 2 Liam Larkan, 1 Reece Bezuidenhout.
Subs: 16 Daniel Jooste, 17 Andre Booysen, 18 Tristan Leitch, 19 Jessie Johnson, 20 Chad Serdyn, 21 Vusile Dlepu, 22 Wian van Niekerk, 23 Quan Eymann.
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images