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Western Province beat Griquas 34-17 to strengthen their bid for a home semi-final in the Currie Cup.
The victory will see Province temporarily rise above both the Sharks and Lions into second place on the Currie Cup table, while the Cape side is currently within four points of leaders the Vodacom Bulls. It could still change, as the Sharks face the Cheetahs on Sunday, while the Lions still have to play the Pumas and Bulls.
Province have their pack to thank for today's win as they largely dominated the scrums, especially in the second half, while their maul also proved profitable, resulting in four of their five tries.
However, they got off to a quick start as Bongi Mbonambi went over from a driving maul in the first 10 minutes. Tim Swiel slotted the conversion and a penalty before Province took control of the match in controversial fashion.
From a lineout, Rikus Pretorius put Dan Du Plessis through a gap in Griquas' defence to score. However, upon replay it appeared that Pretorius' pass to Du Plessis was blatantly forward, but TMO Joey Klaaste-Salmans decided there was not enough evidence to change referee AJ Jacobs’ decision to award the try.
To Griquas' credit, they fought back well towards the end of the first half and got just reward when Zak Burger and Berto Klaasen combined to put Eduan Keyter over for a try. That try also appeared to come from a forward pass, but Klaaste-Salmans did not review the incident and it stood.
Griquas continued to pile on the pressure, but Jaco Coetzee won a turnover near his own tryline to see Province take a 17-7 lead into the break. Tinus De Beer slotted a penalty in the first minute of the second half to bring Griquas to within seven points of Province.
The home side hit back when, from another driving maul, Mbonambi broke off and used a strong leg drive to propel himself over the tryline, before Coetzee forced his way over for Province’s fourth try. The bonus point was all but secured when Chad Solomon came off the bench for his 50th appearance and scored a try off the back of a maul.
Griquas would have the final say as substitute Siba Qoma finished off a long period of pressure by scoring his first Currie Cup try.
Western Province – Tries: Bongi Mbonambi, (2) Dan du Plessis, Jaco Coetzee, Chad Solomon. Conversions: Tim Swiel (3). Penalties: Swiel.
Griquas – Tries: Eduan Keyter, Siba Qoma. Conversions: Tinus de Beer, Andre Swarts. Penalties: De Beer.