CAPE TOWN – After the Super Rugby Unlocked hammering they took against the Bulls at Loftus four weeks ago, Stormers and WP coach John Dobson afterwards said they were embarrassed by their performance. But how they threw their Currie Cup-opener against the same team at Newlands on Saturday was even more embarrassing.
With all the questions 2020 has left us with, how Province did not win that game – one that they had controlled for most of the evening – was another puzzling one.
Province by far dominated territory and possession in the first half, but didn’t get much return from it bar a converted try by No 8 Juarno Augustus – which took the score to 10-5 after a lengthy period in opposition 22.
A couple of dropped balls, overall scrappy play, awkward passes to the guys out wide and questionable decision-making all contributed to Province not having the convincing second-half lead they should have had considering how they outplayed the Bulls in the first half. The result of the game, a game WP no doubt had the chance to win, is a shocker.
The Bulls were first on the scoreboard after a try by wing Kurt-Lee Arendse. Shortly afterwards, WP flyhalf Damian Willemse added a penalty kick to take the score 3-5.
He had two more shots at goal after that and had he slotted them, Province would have led by four points, but he sent both fairly straightforward kicks wide (the wind may have been a factor as it was quite strong at Newlands). His touch-finders throughout, however, were spot on.
The Bulls had a chance to close in on WP’s lead, but No 10 Chris Smith failed to hit his target again in the second quarter, keeping the score at 10-5 at the break.
The Bulls got the first points in the second half in the form of a penalty conversion by Smith (10-8), and while they lost loosehead prop Jacques van Rooyen after he was red-carded for a reckless shoulder hit to Warrick Gelant’s head, they spent more time in opposition half.
The hosts got their second try after Willemse showed brilliant vision as he sent a grubber into space for Angelo Davids to scoop up and run in their second try (15-8).
The visitors struck back with one of their own when Arendse for his brace to tie the score (15-all) after replacement flyhalf Tim Swiel inexplicably just gave up on his chase, despite being in a good position to at least force the winger out to the corner to make the conversion-attempt tougher.
Loose forward Ernst van Rhyn topped off a good outing with a try after replacement back Ruhan Nel did well to step a defender and get the ball away to Van Rhyn on his outside (20-15), but the Bulls had the final say when Marco Jansen van Vuuren dived over for a converted try (20-22).
Western Province: Tries: Juarno Augustus, Angelo Davids, Ernst van Rhyn Conversion: Damian Willemse Penalty: Willemse
Bulls: Tries: Kurt-Lee Arendse (2), Marco Janse van Vuuren Conversions: Chris Smith (2) Penalty: Smith Red card: Jacques van Rooyen