Defending SA Rugby Women’s Interprovincial champions, Western Province, booked a rewarding home final in the competition this weekend as they outplayed neighbours, Boland, 28-0 in Worcester in the penultimate pool round of the A Section.
The victory, which marked the Capetonians’ fourth in a row this season, pushed them to 19 log points – seven more than the second-placed Eastern Province – meaning they will finish the league stages as the highest placed team on the standings regardless of the outcome of their final pool match in two weeks.
In the other matches, 2018 finalists, Border, made sure that they had a shot at yet another final against their arch-rivals, Western Province, thanks to an invaluable 27-10 away victory against the Sharks in Durban, and the Blue Bulls edged Eastern Province 10-5 in Uitenhage.
These results paved the way for a gripping finale to the pool stages of the A Section, with Eastern Province (12 points), Border (11), the Sharks (10) and Blue Bulls (8) still in the race for the other final berth.
The first half of the Western Cape derby between Western Province and Boland was competitive and it showed on the scoreboard as Western Province held a narrow 7-0 lead at the break.
But the Capetonians hit their straps in the second half and added three tries – with replacement prop Zandiswa Xozwe wrapping up her brace – while flyhalf Selladean Pietersen converted all of them to steer the team to the convincing win. They supported this with a brave defensive effort, which left the hosts scoreless.
Border delivered an effective display on attack and defence against the Sharks in Durban to outscore the hosts five tries to two for their 27-10 victory.
The visitors led 17-5 at the break, and they continued to chip away at the Sharks defence as the match progressed, and it paid off as five players managed to cross the tryline. The hosts, in turn, battled to make their presence felt, and managed only a try in each half for their efforts.
The battle between the Eastern Province and the Blue Bulls was hard-fought, with neither team giving an inch, but it was the Pretoria side’s two tries to one in the end that saw them through for the 10-5 win.
The teams each managed to score an unconverted try in the first half, but Eastern Province were unable to add to this in the second half, while the Blue Bulls forced their way over the chalk for the second time – which kept them in the semi-final race mathematically.
SA Rugby Women’s Interprovincial A Section results (Saturday, 3 August):
Boland 0-28 Western Province – Esselenpark, Worcester
Sharks 10-27 Border – Varsity College, Durban North
Eastern Province 5-10 Blue Bulls – Daniel Pienaar Technical High School, Uitenhage