Western Province held their nerve in a gripping Carfind.co.za Iqhawe Week final match against their Western Cape neighbours Boland to secure a narrow 7-5 victory and top honours in the fifth edition of the tournament at the Bill Jardine Stadium in Johannesburg on Thursday.
The match was thoroughly entertaining as the sides threw everything at one another on attack, but with both teams showing true commitment on defence only two tries were scored.
Such was the closeness of the game, Western Province held a narrow 7-0 lead at the break, while Boland scored their try midway through the second half. And with time running out both sides opted for penalty goals to give them a vital cushion on the scoreboard, but the attempts proved unsuccessful.
Boland fought until the end to force their way into the lead, but they were shut out by the determined Western Province defence, allowing the Capetonians to take the honours.
In the penultimate match, Griquas sealed a nail-biting 26-19 victory over the Blue Bulls thanks to a last-minute try. The teams were closely matched throughout the clash, although the North Gautengers worked their way into a 12-0 lead at the break. Griquas, however, found their rhythm soon after and did well to convert their chances into points, which saw them score four tries to the Blue Bulls’ three for the rewarding victory.
SWD overcome a tightly-fought first half against hosts the Golden Lions in which they led 12-7 to break away for a convincing 31-7 victory. SWD dominated territory and possession and applied pressure throughout the match, and this paid off as they ran in five tries, while they supported this with a solid defensive effort to limit the home team to one try for their efforts.
The Griffons were in fine form against KZN and ran in six tries to one in a dominant performance. Such was the high quality of their attack and defence they built up an encouraging 24-0 lead at the break, and they maintained this form in the second half to run away with the match. In the end they leaked only one try to seal a 38-7 victory.
A strong first half by Free State set them up for 22-8 victory against Border in the opening match of the day, with the team scoring three tries to one by the opposition. The Bloemfontein side led 19-8 at the break, with winger Jaden Bontes scoring a brace, but the second half was tight as the rain poured down, which resulted in only three points being scored compliments of a penalty goal by Free State.
Eastern Province, meanwhile, bounced back from an 8-0 halftime deficit against the Valke to win the match 20-13. The Port Elizabeth side scored three tries in a determined second-half showing with scrumhalf Lorenzo Rossouw touching down twice, which pushed them ahead of the East-Randers, who touched down twice.
The match between the Leopards and Pumas was physical as both teams gave everything, which resulted in a nail-biting finish with the Potchefstroom side winning 8-7. The Pumas lead 7-0 at the break thanks to a converted try, but the Leopards fought back strongly to score a try and kick a vital penalty, which allowed them to finish the tournament on a winning note.
Carfind.co.za Iqhawe Week day three results (click on the link for the match breakdown):
Eastern Province 20-13 Valke
Border 8-22 Free State
Griffons 38-7 KZN
Golden Lions 7-31 SWD
Pumas 7-8 Leopards
Griquas 26-19 Blue Bulls
Boland 7-5 Western Province