Last week Province only needed 40 minutes to earn a win and a bonus points against the Blue Bulls at Loftus, this week they needed the 100 minutes to squeeze through a win to get into the final.
It was dramatic scenes at Newlands with both teams ending on 32 all after 80 minutes. It was only the boot of SP Marais that made the difference at the end to get Province over the line with a win of 35-32 after extra time.
As expected it was a much improved Blue Bulls side that came to Newlands and they showed it from the start with their defence.
It was Province who were on the board first with a penalty from a scrum which gave them a lead of 3-0.
Province enjoyed most of the ball but the Bulls hit them back with some very good defence.
It was a mistake from Province that gave the Blue Bulls their first real chance inside Province twenty two. They kept the ball in hand and it was Steenkamp that went over for the first try.
This gave the Blue Bulls the lead 7-6 against the run of play.
With the try the Blue Bulls got some confidence to believe in their attack. They kept hitting the Province players back and forcing them into handling errors.
The Blue Bulls second try came from a kick down field which Libbok picked up to send Matthews over for a 14-6 lead.
It was penalties that kept the scoreboard ticking over with the two teams going into the break with the Blue Bulls leading 17-15.
The Blue Bulls kept playing in the right areas of the field and Libbok took advantage of a great drive to get the Bulls over for their first try in the second half.
The Blue Bulls played like a team on a mission they did not give Province and inch but eventually the wall did broke when Province got over for their first try of the match by SP Marais.
The Blue Bulls slotted a penalty over to extend the lead again but then they let it slipped with Province scoring from a lineout mistake.
That gave them a lead of 32 -27 with minutes to go. The Blue Bulls made all the play in Province twenty two and had a few chances to get over the line but some good defence and some hard calls from the referee prevented them.
Province were awarded a scrum on the hooter but it was the Blue Bulls that got the ball back and through a few phases Libbok gave the perfect pass to Dylon Sage.
The conversion would have won it for the Blue Bulls but Libbok missed and send the match into extra time.
The players showed that the extra 20 minutes was getting to them making some ordinary handling errors in that first 10 minutes of extra time.
The scores were still level at the end of the first half of extra time which left them 10 more minutes to decided who will advance to the final.
SP Marais who only missed one kick on the day stepped up in the last few minutes to kick a penalty over which gave Province the lead 35-32.
The Blue Bulls tried all they could but a turnover by Petersen was the end of their challenge.
Province were able to hold them out till the final whistle of extra time to book a place at next weeks final against the Sharks in Cape Town.
One felt sorry for the Blue Bulls to missed it at the end after the effort they put in. There was a few decisions that went against them and could have easily turned the game around.
|Marais, De Wet||Steenkamp,Matthews, Libbok|