The Vodacom Western Province under-21 side were made to sweat by a game Free State Cheetahs side in their Absa national competition semifinal at Newlands on Saturday.
The exciting match finished level at 49-49, but Province are through to the final because they scored more tries than the Cheetahs.
Province led 26-21 at halftime and had the chance to clinch the game in the last minute of normal time after a brilliant individual try by centre Johan Sadie drew the teams level at 36-36 in extra time. Flyhalf Gary van Aswegen, normally so dependable, failed with the conversion right in front of the poles.
That meant the team had to play two halfs of ten minutes each. Van Aswegen gave his side the lead in the 3rd min. of extra time with a penalty.
Province had a golden opportunity to score two minutes later, but Sadie could not get his pass away with two team-mates on his outside and not a defender in sight.
Van Aswegen failed with a long-range penalty and Cheetahs flyhalf Franna du Toit made the score level again with a well-taken penalty from 46m out.
Replacement Stephan Greeff scored just before the break and Van Aswegen beautifully converted to make the score 46-39. The Cheetahs suffered a setback when one of their players was sent off for ten minutes after a high tackle on Van Aswegen.
Du Toit gave his side a sniff of the lead when he slotted his 6th penalty goal of the match with 7 minutes left.
They, however, were reduced to 13 players with five minutes left after another high tackle. Gavin Annandale was the culprit. Van Aswegen made no mistake with the resulting penalty to gave his side a 7-point lead at 49-42.
With two minutes left Province opted for a short lineout close to their own try-line, but things went horribly wrong when the ball went over the head of the jumper and straight into the hands of Cheetahs lock Pieter Labuschagne. The lanky second-rower had no problem crossing the line and Du Toit converted.
The Cheetahs efforts, however, were in vain, as Province advanced through the final because they scored more tries.
Vodacom WP - Tries: Martin du Toit, Nick Koster, Johan Sadie, Ruan Smith, Sidney Tobias, Stephan Greeff; Conversions: Gary van Aswegen (5); Penalties: Gary van Aswegen (3)
Free State Cheetahs - Cameron Jacobs (2), Inus Kritzinger, Pieter Labuschagne; Conversions: Franna du Toit (4); Penalties: Franna du Toit (6); Drop goal: Franna du Toit.