Cape Town - The Golden Lions returned to the top
of the Currie Cup log with a well-earned 22-9 win over hosts Western
Province at Newlands on Saturday afternoon.
Province had their
fair share of possession and enjoyed territorial advantage for sustained
spells but they eventually fell well short against the defending
The Lions were full of running after the kick-off and
rarely booted for territorial gains but their attempts to cut the
Province defensive lines by trying to force gaps came to nought.
Their early pressure resulted in a third-minute penalty which flyhalf Butch James slotted for an early 3-0 lead.
Province were able to wrest the initiative, they set up several
movements into the Lions' half but never looked like cracking the
visiting side's defence. Much of their good work was undone by
speculative long-range passes which went astray, as well as conceding
possession at breakdown play.
Midway through the first half, Province managed to take play twice up to the Lions tryline but they were denied.
Fullback Joe Pietetersen, however, added three points from a penalty to draw them level after 23 minutes.
Lions closed the half strongly and they took a deserving 6-3 lead two
minutes ahead of the break when James goaled a second penalty.
the interval, the Lions picked up where they left off and their 43rd
minute surge into the Province 22-metre area yielded a penalty, which
Province fylhalf Demetri Catrakilis reduced the
deficit two minutes later with a penalty, and moments later he equalised
for the hosts after James was yellow-carded for a high tackle.
setback did not seem to deter the Lions and their 14-man effort was
good enough to force a Province infringement which wing Ruan Combrink,
deputising for James, goaled to regain the lead for the Gauteng outfit.
the match approached the hour mark, Province attacked the Lions tryline
relentlessly in a hectic six-minute spell without success.
Once the Lions braved this onslaught, they regained James' services and Province looked all the more less penetrative.
right wing Deon Helberg turned the match on its head with an intercept
try which James converted in the 65th minute for a handy 10-point lead.
if a sloppy Province side had any ideas of pulling the game out of the
fire, they were stopped in their tracks by another James penalty eight
minutes from the end.
The Lions regained their three-point lead at the top of the table, while Province remained in third place, eight points behind.