Johannesburg - The
Golden Lions brought Western Province's unbeaten record in this year's
Currie Cup to an emphatic end with a riveting 35-33 victory at Ellis
Park on Saturday.
The encounter lived up to all the hype that it
would be an attractive open running game as the sides scored eight
tries in total with the hosts taking the lion's share with five.
The encounter started at breakneck pace and for the first 10 minutes there was no sign that it would dissipate.
It was wall-to-wall action as the sides launched attack and counter-attack at each other with their defence initially holding.
The hosts struck the first blow as they progressed to the tryline where prop Schalk van der Merwe crossed the whitewash.
Province pulled back three points after they came close to adding
their own five-pointer but instead returned to their half with a penalty
conversion in the bag.
The visitors, however, demonstrated why
their backline is rated the best in the competition when pocket-rocket
fullback Cheslin Kolbe sparked a magnificent attack.
received the ball from an attacking scrum and sold a dummy to his
outside before offloading to his captain and centre Juan de Jongh, who
made a beeline to the line for the touchdown.
Coleman converted the try and extended his side's lead to six points on the half-hour mark with a penalty conversion.
Lions, however, went into the half-time break with the advantage when
up-and-coming flyhalf Jaco van der Walt showed off his skill to put
captain Lionel Mapoe through for their second try of the night.
der Walt, playing with increased confidence, stepped and dummied his
way past the Western Province defence inside the danger zone before he
offloaded to Mapoe, who tumbled over the line for the try. Ruan
Combrinck converted to send his side to the change room with a narrow
Ten minutes into the second half, Province went
into the lead thanks to a Kurt Coleman penalty conversion before adding
another two minutes later.
The Capetonians seemed to launch a
realistic fightback but the Lions instead went on a rampage which saw
them score two tries within five minutes to effectively take the wind
out of the visitors' sails.
Firecracker hooker Armand van der
Merwe sparked the Lions blitz as he sprinted down the righthand
touchline to beat two defenders for the try in the corner after he
received a well-weighted offload from Van der Walt.
later, Van der Merwe again had a hand in a Lions try when he gave the
final overhead pass to flank Jaco Kriel for their fourth try to extend
the advantage to 28-19.
With 12 minutes left on the clock lock
Franco Mostert also got in on the action as he was stopped short of the
line, only to stretch to dot down.
Province, however, showed
immense character in the dying moments of the match to try and salvage a
bonus try to get within seven points.
Two minutes from time
Justin Geduld scored his side's second try of the night and pressurised
by De Jongh, Kolbe took a quick dropped conversion as time was running
With no time in the match Province would not be denied the
bonus point when Michael Rhodes crossed the whitewash, with Demetri
Schalk van der Merwe, Lionel Mapoe, Armand van der Merwe, Jaco Kriel,
Franco Mostert Conversions: Ruan Combrinck (5)
Tries: Juan de Jongh, Justin Geduld, Michael Rhodes
Conversions: Kurt Coleman, Cheslin Kolbe, Demetri Catrakilis
Penalties: Coleman (4)
15. Andries Coetzee, 14. Ruan Combrinck, 13. Lionel Mapoe (captain), 12. Stokkies Hanekom, 11. Courtnall Skosan, 10. Jaco van der Walt, 9. Ricky Schroeder, 8. Willie Britz, 7. Kwagga Smith, 6. Jaco Kriel/Warwick Tecklenburg, 5. Franco Mostert, 4. MB Lusaseni, 3. Ruan Dreyer, 2. Armand van der Merwe, 1. Schalk van der Merwe
Substitutes: 16. Malcolm Marx, 17. Jacques van Rooyen, 18. Martin Muller, 19. Warwick Tecklenburg/Steph de Wit, 20. Michael Bondesio, 21. Mark Richards, 22. Howard Mnisi
15. Cheslin Kolbe, 14. Kobus van Wyk, 13. Juan de Jongh (captain), 12. Jaco Taute, 11. Pat Howard, 10. Kurt Coleman, 9. Louis Schreuder, 8. Nizaam Carr, 7. Michael Rhodes, 6. Siya Kolisi, 5. Ruan Botha, 4. Jean Kleyn, 3. Pat Cilliers, 2. Stephan Coetzee, 1. Alistair Vermaak
Substitutes: 16. Scarra Ntubeni, 17. Brok Harris, 18. Manuel Carizza, 19. Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 20. Godlen Masimla, 21. Demetri Catrakilis, 22. Justin Geduld