Western Province outclass the Tusker Simba XV

Winger Devon Williams scored four tries before halftime as DHL Western Province outclassed the Tusker Simba XV 65-29 (halftime 37-22) in their Vodacom Cup match at DHL Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday afternoon.
Captain Rohan Kitshoff went over barely after the match had started and the hosts had a 5-0 lead after flyhalf Gary van Aswegen missed the conversion.
Flyhalf Kenny Andola kicked a penalty to get the Kenyans on the board as the two teams started to get a feel for each other and the match.
With the score at 5-3 Williams scored his first try and a pattern started to emerge as Van Aswegen missed another kick at goal.
The Simba XV gave the hosts a slight scare as first centre Fabian Ogutu and then fullback Tony Opondo scored to grab the lead at 13-10.
Andola converted the second try to give Simba XV a handy 15-10 lead before WP started turning on the style in a major way.
Centre Johnny Kotze backed himself and went wide to outpace the would-be defender and draw the teams level. Van Aswegen missed his third kick and it was left to Williams to seize the initiative.
The flying winger scored three tries in seven minutes to take the home team out to a 30-15 lead.
When Van Asgewen finally managed to convert a try it was after five previous attempts and this made the score 32-15 after 36 minutes of play.Opondo scored his second try after running onto a superb delayed pass by Ogutu and left his opposite number Tiger Bax for dead after he swerved past him without being touched.
Andola duly converted and the Simba XV had narrowed the gap and only trailed 32-22 going into the final moments of the half.
Possibly thinking of halftime and not concentrating the Kenyan scrum was penalised and eightman Carel du Preez seized an opportunity. He took a quick tap and went for the tryline, going over for try No 7.
The kicking woes of Van Aswegen continued as he missed the straightforward conversion and the halftime score was 37-22 in favour of WP.
A superb line-break by Bax saw Du Preez harken back to visions of his namesake Carel and just like the prince of wings this Du Preez scored a fantastic try in the corner.
Kurt Coleman had made his way onto the field and was successful with his first conversion of the afternoon.
Eightman Joshua Chisanga scored a fourth try for his side after the WP defenders were unable to bring down the big man.
The conversion by Andola made it 44-29 and this was the last time the Kenyans troubled the scorers.
Big prop and ironically named Christo “Tiny” van Wyk dotted down after sniping from a ruck before captain courageous Kitshoff scored twice more to complete his hat-trick of tries.
Replacement Martin Omondi was sent to the sin-bin after an indiscretion and WP looked to capitalise on the numerical advantage.
Coleman converted all three of these tries to stake a strong claim for the starting berth next week. Against a stronger opponent the first-half goal kicking display might have proved to be costly and coach John Dobson will have to make sure his flyhalf slots his goals.
The final score of 65-29 could easily have been even more but the match lost a significant amount of structure and impetus after replacements were made towards the end.
The hosts will welcome the Free State XV in an epic encounter next week at City Park while the Simba XV will have to regroup quickly as they host the unbeaten Sharks XV.
DHL WESTERN PROVINCE–TRIES: Rohan Kitshoff (3), Devon Williams (4), Johnny Kotze, Carel du Preez (2), Christo van Wyk; Conversions: Gary van Aswegen (2), Kurt Coleman (3).
TUSKER SIMBA XV–TRIES: Fabian Ogutu, Tony Opondo (2), Joshua Chisanga; Conversions: Kenny Andola (3) ; Penalty: Andola.



Blues celebrate a try

Blues celebrate a try

Blues 35
Crusaders 24

This rollercoaster of a victory over the old enemy has eased the pressure on the Blues – and broken a seven-game losing streak stretching back to May last year. It it will also cause a fair bit of soul-searching in Christchurch.

It was a bizarre game for many reasons – the way the Blues took so long to get into it, and once they did how the Crusaders imploded, barely able to string a pass together as Sir John Kirwan’s men poured on an incredible 29 unanswered points. In the middle of it all, 20-year-old first-five Simon Hickey went serenely about his work. He kicked six from seven shots at goal and looked assured.

The Blues leave for South Africa today and their two matches against the Bulls and Lions in good spirits, the Crusaders on the other hand must be wondering where to start. They are yet to earn a competition point.

Their composure deserted them entirely, they fumbled, missed tackles; frankly they looked in disarray. In their loss to the Chiefs last weekend their skills let them down in the end but they showed grit. There was determination again last night, but there was a lack of clear thinking. They are in a deep hole.

In scoring four tries for a bonus point, Blues showed just how dangerous they will be this season if they can play with confidence. They have the personnel – Frank Halai, George Moala and Charles Piutau are a handful for any defence. Returning former All Black Jerome Kaino, watching from the stand, will add to their firepower once he becomes available after their African adventure.

On this evidence, it’s hard to know what to expect of the Blues in the Republic because after 34 minutes it looked like it would only a matter of how many the Crusaders won by. Tries from hooker Corey Flynn and fullback Colin Slade helped push the score out to 17-3, the Blues offering little in response.

It was a moment of magic from Frank Halai which turned the Blues’ fortunes around. On the counter, the ball was shifted quickly to where Halai was lurking and he showed the pace and right foot step which earned him an All Blacks selection last year.

There was more to come, and quickly. From the re-start, young lock Patrick Tuipulotu got a pass away under pressure to Tevita Li, who eluded the tackles of Colin Slade, Richie McCaw and Rob Thompson to score an extraordinary try.

Coach Kirwan was out of his seat well before halftime and with the score 17-15 it was no wonder.

The Crusaders were out warming up with passing drills well before the Blues emerged from halftime but worse was to come for them. A Moala try from a Reynold Lee-Lo and Slade defensive howler was followed by a try to Willison, who dived on a Piri Weepu grubber.

In the frantic final minutes, Steven Luatua was sinbinned and Crotty, running on to an Israel Dagg break, scored to narrow the gap for the Crusaders. Appropriately, Hickey had the last say with a penalty.