Lions off to golden start

2012-08-11 19:27

Johannesburg - The MTN Golden Lions started off the defence of their Currie Cup title with a fine 43-20 win over the Free State Cheetahs at Coca-Cola Park on Saturday afternoon. They scored four tries for a bonus point and Butch James contributed 21 points with a faultless eight from eight kicks.

Except for the third quarter, when the Cheetahs fielded a number of replacements and came back strongly, the Lions were in control throughout.

The Lions led 23-6 at halftime, including two fine tries.

They had dominated possession and territory, scrummed well and were impressive with their drives from lineouts. The forwards were quicker to the breakdown than Free State, and at the back the Lions were full of running and spread the ball wide whenever possible.

They also won turnovers when it mattered most - notably on two occasions just after the break when Free State pressured the Lions' tryline and looked like reducing the 17-point deficit.

After one of those turnovers the Lions nearly scored at the other end -but then the Cheetahs turned over possession and Sarel Pretorius, with some nifty footwork, scored under the posts.

However, the new referral system cost the visitors as the awarded try was overturned and a scrum ordered 60 metres back. However, it was only a temporary setback and young wing Raymond Rhule scored two scintillating tries in a great fight back, with only Butch James's fourth penalty keeping the Lions' score going.

The Lions lead had shrunk from 23-6 to 26-20 with 18 minutes' play left before Lions lock Hendrik Roodt galloped in following a good Lions build-up. James converted for a full house of seven kicks (33-20) and then made it eight with his fifth penalty with seven minutes remaining (36-20).

In another first for these two teams the trial Pitch Side Concussion Assessment (PSCA) was implemented 11 minutes into the match when Lions lock Hendrik Roodt left the field to be assessed.

He returned a few minutes later to make an impressive contribution that included a great try - and the PSCA was used on a number of other occasions, with the players passed fit every time.


Golden Lions: Tries: Derick Minnie, Andries Coetzee, Hendrik Roodt, Ruan Combrinck. Conversions: Butch James (3), Gus Cronje. Penalties: James (5).

Toyota Free State Cheetahs: Tries: Raymond Rhule (2). Riaan Smit (2).

Penalties: Smit (2)


  • margie.swanepoel - 2012-08-11 19:37

    Congratulations and well done my Lions! Keep it up.

      jacobus.vandermerwe.9 - 2012-08-13 22:53

      STOP Watson!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • nick.mullet.35 - 2012-08-11 19:43

    Cheetahs to Japan

      nick.mullet.35 - 2012-08-11 21:10

      Looks like the WP might need to look to Japan

  • Steven Trollip - 2012-08-11 19:44

    Seker die laaste wen weer vir die lions in die c/beker maar by gese veels geluk!!

      louis.bensch.31 - 2012-08-13 08:47

      @Steven, nou wanneer laas het ons verloor in die Currie Cup?. Jou span het seker verloor dis hoekom jy suur is....ha ha, go Lions!!!

  • nico.pretorius.946 - 2012-08-11 19:56

    Excellent LIONS!!! well played and a great start to defending our title, seems as if a lot of work has been done on defense and Butch made a big difference between the two teams. GO LIONS!!!!!!

  • Cavin Snyman - 2012-08-11 20:58

    Whoop whoop SHARKS 25 - WP 23 :)) Yay!!!!!

      nick.mullet.35 - 2012-08-11 21:12

      Choke starting early. Joe Pietersen. Extreme choker and worst fullback performance I have ever seen

  • skinfaxi.mordor - 2012-08-11 23:15

    Raymond Rhule will be a Springbok before the end of the 2013 season. He was impressive for the baby bokke and he's showed he's not just a flash in the pan. A true athlete with some serious rugby skills.

      ockie.barnard.9 - 2012-08-12 09:05

      Skinfaxi. 1 thing is certain (Cheetahs just signed him for 2 years), after this period he will be contracted by 1 of the richer unions and chasing high ball from then onwards.

  • steven.chiaberta - 2012-08-12 17:26

    Sad but true Okie, sad but true. The Bulls invented the kicking game, threw it down Bok throats, and now WP/Stormers are doing it too, which I can't understand because the 2010 Stormers were incredible on attack and just needed to tighten up on defence to be unstoppable. I think AC thinks the only way he'll ever be Bok coach is to make his players kick, chase and defend, and nothing else. What a pity the big unions have the best players, because they're wasting them with this crap. I'm a Lions fan, and the Lions may not be the best when everyone's at full strength, but at least they try to play rugby like it's meant to be played. And so do the Cheetahs. The Sharks do sometimes, but don't trust it in the really big games. SAD SAD SAD.

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