Western Province secured their second Currie Cup win in an error-riddled match against the Pumas at Mbombela Stadium on Friday night.
It has been a hugely disappointing season for Province, who have only managed two wins in 10 games.
The game was far from a positive advertisement of rugby.
It was a comedy of errors at times, with neither side being able to brag about their clinical execution. It was a scrappy start from both sides and it continued throughout the game.
The visitors were first to draw blood when the Province halfbacks produced some brilliance after flyhalf Tim Swiel did well to assess the situation and give a top offload to Godlen Masimla on his inside, who slalomed his way to the tryline (0-7).
The visitors were absolutely dominant in the first few scrums with Neethling Fouche stamping down his authority. It was only right, then, that the tighthead was the one to finish things off when he crashed over for Jerome Paarwater’s side’s second try (0-12),
The Pumas didn’t see much of the Capetonians’ 22 in the opening half, but when they did work their way into that zone, they made proper use of the opportunity by scoring a try through Eduan Swart after a lineout – their first in Province territory – and a maul (5-12).
Province stretched their lead early in the second quarter when Swiel connected a penalty kick to go 5-15 up.
The Pumas responded with a solid maul try from a lineout on WP’s five with Corne Fourie going over to make it a five-point game (10-15).
Province’s scrum gave them rewards again when Sergeal Petersen went down the blindside to touch down around the half-hour mark (10-20), and while the Pumas came back well in terms of performance, WP went into the break holding the lead.
The Mpumalanga side appeared to have closed in on Province’s lead at the start of the third quarter after the visiting team went one-man down with a yellow card, but the try was disallowed upon review.
After camping out in opposition half, Jimmy Stonehouse’s guys finally got some points in the second half after a strong scrum saw going over (17-20), but Province made sure to stay ahead with a second penalty by Swiel (17-23).
The teams’ discipline and execution weren’t the only things lacking in the game, with the stadium lights going off in the final minute.
With the Pumas earning a shot at goal at the death, they had to wait for the lights to come back on before the attempt off the tee.
After going for the corner, the hosts needed a converted try to win the game, but WP turned it over and kicked the ball out to clear.
Pumas 17 — Tries: Eduan Swart, Corné Fourie, Chriswill September Conversions: Eddie Fouche (1)
Western Province 23 — Tries: Godlen Masimla, Neethling Fouche, Sergeal Petersen Conversions: Tim Swiel (1) Penalties: Swiel (2)