Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Western Province claimed a hard-fought 13-5 victory over the Golden Lions at the Craven Week here on Wednesday.

Hosts Western Province secured their place in the unofficial final on Saturday and will meet the winner of Thursday’s match between Free State and the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks.

A total of 32 tries were scored in the four matches that were played on Wednesday.

Western Province, who won their opening game on Monday in a 72-10 victory over the Mpumalanga Pumas, dominated territory and possession and handled the conditions far better than the Lions.

The Lions had enough chances to force a positive outcome and will look back on a number of missed opportunities, especially in the second half when they camped on Western Province’s try line without being able to find a way through.

Western Province were first to put points on the board with flyhalf Kade Wolhuter, who was on target with a penalty goal in the sixth minute.

The Lions responded with a five-pointer through Henco van Wyk for which the big inside centre shredded the Western Province defence with a weaving run.

Wolhuter put over a second penalty to make it 6-5 in favour of the home side.

Western Province made a strong start to the final 35 minutes, and from an attacking rolling maul lock Adrian Alberts was propelled over the line.

The Lions then enjoyed 10 minutes of ferocious attacking but could not get through a tight defence that was in no mood to surrender further points.

Western Province will now have to keep their momentum for Saturday’s big game against Free State. And the smart money is likely to be on Free State, with the bulk of the team coming from Grey College, one of the country’s top rugby schools.

In earlier games, the Blue Bulls XV began the day’s proceedings with a clinical 55-5 victory over Limpopo before the Pumas clobbered 2014 winners Eastern Province 45-29.

Border then took on the Griffons in the penultimate game and cruised to a 52-12 victory.