The Vodacom Blue Bulls lost their Absa Currie Cup semifinal 31-23 to DHL WP at Newlands on Saturday.
Western Province recorded their third win of the season over the Blue Bulls as they advanced to the Currie Cup Final, reports rugby365.co.za
Province will host the Golden Lions at Newlands next week, after their 31-23 win over a willing, but sloppy Bulls team at the same Cape Town venue on Saturday.
Apart from the 'hat-trick' of victories over the Bulls, WP will also feature in their third consecutive Final.
The Bulls had enough possession and territory, but as has been the case throughout the season they simply did not turn those opportunities into points.
Province, in stark contrast, used every scrap they could to counter and looked for tries, while their tactical awareness was also far superior to that of the visitors.
Province's defensive lines also held firm for most part when the Bulls had the ball in hand and they were certainly helped by the predictability of the visitors' attacks.
Add to that a number of errors by the Bulls, such as their failure to find touch with penalties and kicking the ball away, and it is an exercise in futility to even look at the freakshow produced by the match officials when you search for reasons that resulted in the final scoreline.
A scrum penalty against the Bulls in the second minute afforded Demetri Catrakilis the chance to give WP an early lead and he didn't disappoint.
Bulls flyhalf Jacques-Louis Potgieter attempted a drop-goal in the 10th minute, after a period of dominance by the visitors, but he hooked it past the uprights.
Then, minutes later, the Bulls were made to pay for their lack of ball-control when Michael van deer Spuy ripped the ball from Jono Ross' grasp and the counter started. First Seabelo Senatla sprinted down the left touchline, an inside [pass found support and quick recycling found Cheslin Kolbe in open space on the right wing. The conversion attempt drifted across the uprights - 8-0.
A ruck penalty against Michael Rhodes in the 16th minute allowed Jacques-Louis to put the Bulls on the board - 3-8.
The other significant incident was the loss of WP star loose forward Nizaam Carr, who injured his leg while landing awkwardly without an opponent nearby.
Catrakilis restored the eight-point lead (11-3) in the 22nd minute, when Deon Stegmann was penalised at a ruck.
Michael Rhodes was again the culprit, in the 25th minute, when Potgieter pushed a penalty shot at goal past the left upright.
WP got their second try in the 27th minute, after a sublime grubber was collected by Kobus van Wyk, who found Kolbe in support on his inside - the diminutive back sprinting over. Catrakilis made it 18-3 with the conversion.
A scrum penalty against Pat Cilliers, on the half-hour mark, gave Potgieter another shot at goal. This time he pushed it well wide to the right.
Just short of the half-time break a scrum penalty against the Bulls and a quick tap by Nic Groom five metres out saw the scrumhalf dart over for WP's third try. The conversion made it 25-3.
The Bulls had one last dash, a maul penalty that was turned into a line-out deep inside the Province 22, Dean Greyling going over the line in the left corner after a short period of phase play. The call went up to the TMO, who ruled that Greyling had legally grounded the ball. Potgieter's conversion made it 25-10 to WP at half-time.
The second half started with some sublime interplay between Handré Pollard and Potgieter, which finished a Potgieter kicking a penalty to make it 13-25. Potgieter made that 16-25 minutes later, after what appeared to be a professional foul at the breakdown five metres out from the WP line. It was accompanied by a warning from the referee.
Catrakilis pushed the lead out to 12 points again (28-16) after a breakdown offence, before Potgieter pushed another attempt past the right upright - his third miss of the game.
Province were now content t play a territorial game, while the Bulls started to throw the ball around as they chased the game.
With just on seven minutes remaining, Catrakilis - playing on an advantage - slotted a drop-goal to make it a 15-point game - 31-16.
The Bulls continued to battle away and Callie Visagie got a try, sparked by Piet van Zyl and Handré Pollard (now at flyhalf).
However, it was not nearly enough - despite the Bulls winning the second half 13-6.
Man of the match: Handré Pollard looked to inject himself into the game, even more so when he moved to flyhalf late in the game, while Jacques du Plessis and Paul Willemse were both very busy. Siyabonga Ntubeni was again a huge tank full of energy, while Demetri Catrakilis pulled the strings from flyhalf. However, our award goes to Western Province flyhalf Cheslin Kolbe, who is the epitome of Western Province's ability to turn little moments into big points.
Moment of the match: It is an easy choice - the first of Cheslin Colby's two tries, in the 12th minute, when a turnover inside the WP 22 saw Seabelo Senatla sprint down the left wing, before quick recycling found Kolbe in space on the right - classic counter-attacking play.
Tries - C. Kolbe 2, N. Groom
Pen - D.Catrakilis 3
Con - D.Catrakilis 2
Drop - D.Catrakilis
Tries - D.Greyling, C.Visagie
Pen - J.Potigieter 3
Con - J.Potigieter 2
More to follow....