Scott Mathie’s men, playing in pink, outscored the Capetonians by six tries to three to finish the penultimate round of the regular season in third position, where DHL Western Province had started the weekend.

It was a show of force by Tafel Lager Griquas, who outmuscled John Dobson’s charges everywhere but in the scrums. They dominated the gain line battle and made several smashing hits to send DHL Western Province crashing to fifth place.

Three unanswered tries just before and after half-time saw the home team pull away and DHL Western Province, who made life hard for themselves - particularly at restarts - couldn’t recover. 

DHL Western Province flyhalf Tim Swiel opened the scoring with a penalty goal in the third minute after Tafel Lager Griquas were pinged for obstruction.

His opposite number, George Whitehead, levelled the scores three minutes later after the visitors failed to roll away at a ruck. A powerful scrum saw DHL Western Province turn down a kick at goal as they chased the opening try, however, the hosts were able to halt the driving maul and work a turnover.

An audacious offload by Eduan Keyter, one of the stars of the season, created the first try-scoring opportunity for Tafel Lager Griquas, but a crucial pass didn’t go to hand. Having had a penalty advantage, they’d get their try from the ensuing lineout, Champion of the Match Gideon van der Merwe shooting out of the maul like an arrow out of a bow to score, with Whitehead adding the conversion.

The fluid attack of the visitors led to four penalties in the red zone in rapid succession. James Verity-Amm was the last to infringe, going offside, which earned him a yellow card. DHL Western Province opted for a scrum and exploited their numerical advantage out wide to tie things up, with Swiel sending Sergeal Petersen in with an excellent long pass.

They switched off at the restart, though, gifting Tafel Lager Griquas an opportunity to hit back. They not only did, through Hanru Sirgel, but also saw the playing field being levelled as Paul de Wet, a last-minute replacement for Godlen Masimla in the No 9 jersey, was yellow-carded for not rolling away.

DHL Western Province adapted well to losing De Wet, Edwill van der Merwe and Warrick Gelant assuming the role in a sweeping movement that resulted in a try for Ruhan Nel. Swiel couldn’t add to conversion, thus, the Peacock Blues held onto a 17-15 lead.

It would be Gelant who covered scrumhalf and the Springbok fullback produced an impressive cameo, complete with a textbook box kick that pinned Tafel Lager Griquas in their 22. DHL Western Province got reward for it as well as, as a penalty for holding on saw Swiel edge them in front.

However, another botched restart eventually saw them relinquish the lead as Ruan Steenkamp was held up before Adré Smith powered over for a seven-pointer under the posts to put Tafel Lager Griquas up 24-18 at half-time.

A comedy of errors by the men in the hooped jerseys from the kick-off gifted the hosts a 5m scrum, from where Steenkamp scored the bonus-point try following a few pick and goes. Whitehead’s conversion made it 31-18 after 42 minutes.

The power play of the men in pink set the table for another try finished by Verity-Amm out wide and even though Whitehead was unsuccessful with the conversion, DHL Western Province were left with a mountain to climb, trailing 36-18 with 30 minutes remaining.

DHL Western Province’s attempted rescue mission was hampered by mistakes at crucial times, but a converted try by replacement Neethling Fouché in the 64th minute gave them a sniff. A soft penalty killed those hopes as Whitehead stretched the lead to 14 before Verity-Amm scored his second to seal an emphatic victory for Tafel Lager Griquas.


Tafel Lager Griquas 46 (24) – Tries: Gideon van der Merwe, Hanru Sirgel, Adré Smith, Ruan Steenkamp, James Verity-Amm (2). Conversions: George Whitehead (5). Penalty goals: Whitehead (2).

DHL Western Province 25 (18) – Tries: Sergeal Petersen, Ruhan Nel, Neethling Fouché. Conversion: Tim Swiel (2). Penalty goals: Swiel (2).