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George hat-trick not enough as WP overcomes Bulls to claim top spot

By Franco Oberholzer , in Rugby | Featured Rugby | News , at 2024-06-21 Tags: ,

GQEBERHA, SOUTH AFRICA – Photo: Michael Sheehan/Gallo Images.

Despite a hat-trick of tries by the Blue Bulls’ exciting left wing, Yuvrah George, Western Province managed to hold onto their half-time lead and dethrone the defending champions in the unofficial main match of the 2024 Grant Khomo Week, winning 31-22.

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George was also the only Bulls’ player to cross Province’s try line, which underlined just how special his performance was.

The speedster from Hoërskool Garsfontein, in Pretoria, was the tournament’s leading try-scorer. He also finished second on the top points’ scorers’ list, which makes him a leading contender for the Player of the Tournament Award.

However, a two-try salvo through flyer, Dayyaan Conrad, and captain and hooker, Kwaza Combinca, minutes apart, after the break, saw Western Province stretch their half-time lead from 19-15 to 31-15.

The Capetonians also found an unlikely hero in their eighth-man, Ruan Lindeque. Earlier in the week, he had run out for the Western Province XV. On Friday, though, he took up his place at the back of the scrum in the penultimate match of the week.

Lindeque impressed with his high work rate and was rewarded with a try shortly before the half-time whistle, which also put Province into the lead.

Alongside him, openside flank, Christiaan le Roux, caused havoc at ruck time, resulting in the Bulls dealing with scrappy ball on numerous occasions. His hard work in the trenches earned him the Player of the Match award.

In the curtain raiser, the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks spoiled the high-flying South Western Districts’ party through a Lwandle Mkhize try after the hooter. The left-wing went over beneath the uprights, which gave Lwazi Mbede an easy conversion, and saw the Sharks to a 20-19 victory.

South Western Districts’ captain, Jacobus de Villiers, who starred throughout the week, showed his prowess on attack and defence one last time, lighting up Kolisi Field with his storming runs and massive hits.

Inside centre William Stevens and his trusty boot helped Eastern Province claim a narrow 36-33 victory over the Western Province XV in their final outing. It was the hosts’ first win of the week and also meant that the Western Province second stringers would return home winless

Free State hit their straps in their final match against Boland. They gave the ball a lot of air and continuously attacked space, which gave Unathi Ntuli an opportunity to show off his speed and footwork. He crossed for an impressive double as the Free Staters ran out 33-15 winners.

Scorers

Western Province 31 (19) – Tries: Sian van Heerden, Tiaan Basson, Ruan Lindeque, Dayyaan Conrad, Kwaza Combinca. Conversions: Travis Pheiffer (3). Blue Bulls 22 (15) – Tries: Yuvrah George (3). Conversions: Dylan Stumke (2). Penalty: Vihan Pretorius.

Sharks 20 (5) – Tries: Ben Coetzee, Nathan Aneke, Lwandle Mkhize. Conversion: Lwazi Mbede. Penalty: Mbede. South Western Districts 19 (12) – Tries: Jacobus de Villiers (2), Qlin Booyse. Conversions: Caleb Williams (2).

Eastern Province 36 (21) – Tries: Ciaran Carolus (3), Zanick Carolus, Lucritia Magua. Conversions: William Stevens (3). Tristan Kemp. Penalty: Stevens. Western Province XV 33 (18) – Tries: Jacques Hutton, Pierre Dreyer, Alvin Machinga, Laeeq Davids, Adrian Faul. Conversions: Achmat Behardien (2). Penalties: Behardien (2). Drop Goal: Cayden Snyman.

Free State 33 (21) – Unathi Ntuli (2), Henru Erasmus, Lamia Mgedzi. Conversions: O’Ryan Kleyn (4). Boland 15 (3) – Tries: Darren Makeza, Harold de Silva. Conversion: Joshua Arnoldus. Penalty: Arnoldus.

Franco Oberholzer