Lions outgun Leopards
Elton Jantjies (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Running with virtually every ball they received the Lions beat the Platinum Leopards 45-22 in a lively Absa Currie Cup match at Coca-Cola Park on Friday night.
The impressive display of running rugby and good support overturned an early 5-0 deficit following one of the characteristic sniping tries by Leopards scrumhalf Michael Bondesio.
The Lions scored seven tries to three and got their bonus point after only 38 minutes, following four very good and crowd-pleasing tries, with the highlight probably the 60 metres run for his first try by huge lock Johan Snyman after a recycled ruck ball.
The Lions went into the break 24-10 ahead after a Neill Jacobs penalty had pulled back three points for the Leopards when they were 17-5 behind following Lions tries by Renaldo Bothma, Snyman and Warren Whiteley with only one converted by Elton Jantjies.
Michael Killian added the bonus point try just before the break after some good interplay by the backs and Elton converted.
The confidence with which the home side flung the ball around impressed, as well as their good backing up and especially the speed with which the ball was recycled from the breakdown.
Snyman impressed with his physical presence and also his work rate in covering ground from the one breakdown to the other. Not quite match fit yet, he could well provide that grunt up front that the Lions have been in need of all year.
His second try, in bending down at full speed to pick up a ball from the ground after a Leopards handling error underlined his skills.
On the negative side, the Lions tuned over a few balls at the rucks and relaxed on defence towards the end when the game was won and many replacements possibly disrupted their structures.
Jantjies missed his third just after the restart and the Leopards had a reasonable spell, including winning some of the mentioned turnovers. They even kicked for the corner in an effort to try and catch up to the Lions score.
But 18 minutes into the second half Jantjies, who was again exemplary with his distribution and the speed he brought to the backs, set his backs in motion and Jano Vermaak rounded off another good Lions try after juggling a wayward pass from Killian who had made the break. Jantjies converted from in front of the posts to make it 31-8 late in the third quarter.
Six minutes later flanks Joshua Strauss and Bothma combined with the latter scoring his second try after an inside pass.
Xerox Lions - Tries: Renaldo Bothma (2), Johan Snyman (2), Warren Whiteley, Michael Killian, Jano Vermaak. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (3), Burton Francis (2).
Platinum Leopards - Tries: Michael Bondesio, Jan van Zyl, RW Kember. Conversions: Clayton Durand (2). Penalty: Neill Jacobs.
15. Jaco Taute, 14. Jannie Boshoff, 13. Waylon Murray,
12. Doppies la Grange, 11. Michael Killian, 10. Elton Jantjies, 9. Jano
Vermaak, 8. Warren Whiteley, 7. Joshua Strauss, 6. Renaldo Bothma, 5.
Franco van der Merwe (captain), 4. Johan Snyman, 3. Ross Geldenhuys, 2.
Martin Bezuidenhout, 1. JC Janse van Rensburg
16. Edgar Marutlulle, 17. Wayne Swart, 18. George Earle, 19. Derick
Minnie, 20. JP Joubert, 21. Burton Francis, 22. Pieter Engelbrecht
Jan van Zyl, 14 Deon Scholtz, 13 Jovan Bowles, 12 Walter Venter, 11
Shuaib Samaai, 10 Neill Jacobs, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Riaan Swanepoel, 7
Reginald Kember, 6 Wilhelm Koch (captain), 5 Anthonie Gronum, 4 Brad
Mockford, 3 Barend van der Walt, 2 Gavin Williamson, 1 Bennie Uys
16 Marthinus van der Westhuizen, 17 Johan Coetzee, 18 Edrich Linde, 19
Christo van Niekerk, 20 Jean Tiedt, 21 Clayton Durand, 22 Danie Dames