Cape Town - The Toyota Free State XV claimed a valuable 29-15 (halftime 15-8) away bonus-point victory over the Xerox Golden Lions in their provincial tournament match at the Diggers Rugby Club in Randburg on Saturday.
The match started out as a tight tussle between the two sides as they looked to exert dominance over each other with penalties being traded by Free States flyhalf, Sias Ebersohn and his Lions counterpart, Shaun Reynolds.
But the visitor broke open the play a quarter way through the first period when left wing Maphutha Dolo dashed over the line for the opening try which Ebersohn converted to hand the Free Staters a seven point advantage. Ebersohn then rounded off a wonderful move for the visitors, scoring his own try in the corner to extend the lead to 12 points as the flyhalf missed his own conversion.
Reynolds struggled with his kicking as he missed an easy penalty shortly before the break but fullback Ashlon Davids went over in the corner a minute later to narrow the gap to one score with Reynolds again missing hi attempt at goal.
The Lions levelled matters shortly after the resumption of play when right wing Koch Marx burst over the line and this time Reynolds was spot on with the conversion. The turning point in the game came when the Lions suffered two sin-binnings which allowed the visitors to score two converted tries.
First Lions’ captain and Number 8 Ruaan Lerm was given a breather on 48 minutes and then flanker Derick Minnie was also shown a yellow card by referee Francois Pretorius. Free State’s third try was then scored by hooker Joseph Dweba and then five minutes later, Number 8 Jasper Wiese rumbled over the line for the bonus-point try with Ebersohn converting both efforts.
The victory moved the Free State XV level on 12 points with the Lions but with a game in hand but the Free State side will have to contend with the Cell C Sharks XV next weekend in their attempt to overhaul the Lions and climb the log as the men from Johannesburg have a bye weekend.
Xerox Golden Lions – Ashlon Davids, Koch Marx; Conversion: Shaun Reynolds; Penalty: Reynolds.
Toyota Free State XV – Tries: Jasper Wiese, Joseph Dweba, Maphutha Dolo, Sias Ebersohn; Conversions: Ebersohn (3); Penalty: Ebersohn.