WP scored nine tries to beat the Free State Cheetahs 57-14 in Cape Town on Saturday, writes MARIETTE ADAMS.
For those still in denial about the decline in strength and importance of the Currie Cup, this encounter should serve as an illustration that the world’s oldest rugby competition is far from what it used to be.
This has to be the case when a rampant WP batter one of their traditional rivals in front of a virtually empty Newlands stadium.
It was always going to be a difficult challenge for the Cheetahs, who have been forced to field a makeshift team in the Currie Cup because they have to prioritise their Pro14 campaign, but you’d expect even a lesser Free State lineup to put up a better fight than displayed in this game.
The result does not yet affect the Cheetahs’ position on the log (second), but it does move Province up to third in the table and only three points adrift of their victims.
The hosts were superior across the park, but their counter-attack prowess particularly flayed Free State’s feeble defence.
WP led by 36 points at the halfway mark after running in six tries. Brothers Ramone Samuels and Damian Willemse combined for WP’s opening points with the former scoring a try and the latter slotting the touchline conversion.
The floodgates opened after the deadlock was broken.
First, debutant Craig Barry finished off in the corner on the back of a dazzling run from winger Werner Kok, then Jaco Coetzee punished the Cheetahs when he scooped up a loose ball and scuttled away to dot down under the posts.
Lock JD Schickerling was next to pencil his name on the scoresheet. Barry injected pace into the attack with a run straight through the middle and from there it was just a smooth sequence of offloads before the final pass to Schickerling for the bonus-point try on the 20-minute mark.
There was still time for two further scores – by Huw Jones and Wilco Louw – as the hosts went into the interval with a commanding 36-point advantage.
Western Province took their foot off the pedal somewhat in the second half and yet still managed to outscore the visitors four tries to one.
Samuels and Coetzee both dashed over to complete their brace, followed by a touchdown from Sikhumbuzo Notshe to make it 57-0.
There was a late flurry for the Cheetahs, who managed to score twice in the dying stages, but even that didn’t add much respectability to the scoreboard, nor serve as much consolation.
Western Province – Tries: Ramone Samuels (2), Craig Barry, Jaco Coetzee (2), JD Schickerling, Huw Jones, Wilco Louw, Sikhumbuzo Notshe. Conversions: Damian Willemse (3), Robert du Preez (3).
Free State Cheetahs – Tries: Daniel Maartens, Marnus van der Merwe. Conversions: Ernst Stapelberg (2).
Western Province – 15 Craig Barry, 14 Werner Kok, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Huw Jones, 11 Ruhan Nel, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Cobus Wiese, 6 Jaco Coetzee, 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl (s), 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 Ali Vermaak.
Subs: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Michael Kumbirai, 18 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 19 Kobus van Dyk, 20 Dewaldt Duvenage, 21 Robert du Preez, 22 Dan Kriel.
Free State Cheetahs – 15 Marco Mason, 14 Carel-Jan Coetzee, 13 JW Jonker, 12 Stephan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Luther Obi, 10 Ernst Stapelberg, 9 JP Smith, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Chris Dry, 6 Junior Pokomela, 5 Dennis Visser, 4 Nicolaas Immelman, 3 Laun de Bruin, 2 Reinach Venter, 1 Johan Kotze.
Subs: 16 Marnus van der Merwe, 17 Andrew Kuhn, 18 Sibabalo Qoma, 19 Daniel Maartens, 20 Fifi Rampeta, 21 Dian Badenhorst, 22 Ryno Eksteen.
Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images
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