Currie Cup

Lions roar into Currie Cup final

2014-10-18 16:46
Golden Lions (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - The Golden Lions have booked their place for the Currie Cup final in emphatic style with a 50-20 victory over the Sharks at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Saturday afternoon.

A superb first-half performance which saw the hosts take a 23-3 lead going into the half-time break lay the foundation for the victory.

The Lions scored three tries in the first half before adding three more in the second, with two coming late in the match while the Sharks managed three of their own.

It will be the first time since their 2011 Currie Cup title victory that the Lions will feature in the grand finale, while they brought the Sharks' title defence to an abrupt end.

While the Lions' exciting outside backs generally enjoyed most of the shine, it was their forwards that not only put in most of the hard graft but also ensured them ascension in the first 40 minutes.

The front-row of Schalik van der Merwe, Robbie Coetzee and Ruan Dreyer were demolishing at scrum time where they struck countless psychological blows.

Much of the credit -- as it has been throughout the season -- should go to the Lions loose forwards and flanker Jaco Kriel in particular.

Kriel once again turned in a well-balanced performance where he scored one of his side's tries, while having a massive hand in another.

The hosts opened the scoring two minutes into the encounter courtesy of a Marnitz Boshoff penalty conversion before the Sharks equalled through a Lionel Cronje goal kick of his own in the ninth minute.

The Lions, however, struck a blow a minute later when inside centre Howard Mnisi grubbered the ball through inside the Sharks 22, which he collected again to score in the left-hand corner, with Boshoff missing the conversion kick.

Boshoff made up for the mistake with a penalty goal in the 18th minute extending their lead to eight points.

To add to the pressures of a probing Lions side, Sharks lock Etienne Oosthuizen copped a yellow card in the 26th minute for a tip tackle.

Three minutes from the half-time break Kriel made the breakthrough as he received a long and flat skip-pass from Boshoff.

Attacking from the wing position Kriel made a beeline to score his side's second try of the afternoon with Boshoff's conversion attempt going wide.

On the stroke of half-time Kriel broke though four tackles to get over the gainline before offloading to Ruan Combrinck, who in turn found Ross Cronje on his outside for the try.

The Sharks, however, showed great intent to bounce back from the 20-point deficit as they launched an encouraging fightback in the second half.

Where the visitors seemed rudderless in the first half, relying on aimless kicking to get out of their half, they were more direct in the second.

They finally found the breakthrough in the 49th minute, taking the final pass from captain Tera Mtembu short of the line to score, with Lionel Cronje hitting the left upright with his conversion attempt.

In the 55th minute Lions replacement loose forward Kwagga Smith was sin-binned for taking Mtembu in the air.

The advantage did not seem to hamper the Lions as they managed to add another try during Smith's absence, with replacement hooker Akker van der Merwe scoring after the ball went through a number of phases.

Boshoff converted and added another penalty conversion three minutes later to see their lead increase to 25 points.

The Sharks then added two five-pointers within four minutes with Mtembu and SP Marais going over for their tries to see the deficit shrink to 13 points.

Any hope by Sharks fans of a come-from-behind victory was soon dashed as the Lions scored two tries at the death with Ruan Combrinck and captain Warren Whiteley scoring to bring up their 50 for an emphatic victory.
Golden Lions: 50 (23)- Tries: Howard Mnisi, Jaco Kriel, Ross Cronje, Akker van der Merwe, Ruan Combrinck, Warren Whitely; Conversions: Marnitz Boshoff (4); Penalties: Marnitz Boshoff (4)
Sharks: 20 (3) - Tries: Lwazi Mvovo, Tera Mtembu, SP Marais; Conversion: Fred Zeilinga; Penalty: Lionel Cronje

Golden Lions
15. Jaco van der Walt. 14. Ruan Combrinck, 13. Lionel Mapoe, 12. Howard Mnisi, 11. Courtnall Skosan, 10. Marnitz Boshoff, 9. Ross Cronje, 8. Warren Whiteley (captain), 7. Derick Minnie, 6. Jaco Kriel, 5. Franco Mostert, 4. Martin Muller, 3. Ruan Dreyer, 2. Robbie Coetzee, 1. Schalk van der Merwe

Substitutes: 16. Armand van der Merwe, 17. Julian Redelinghuys, 18. Willie Britz, 19. Warwick Tecklenburg, 20. Kwagga Smith, 21. Mark Richards, 22. Harold Vorster

15. SP Marais, 14. Tonderai Chavhanga, 13. S’bura Sithole, 12. Andre Esterhuizen, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Lionel Cronje, 9. Cobus Reinach, 8. Tera Mtembu (captain), 7. Etienne Oosthuizen, 6. Jacques Botes, 5. Marco Wentzel, 4. Stephan Lewies, 3. Matt Stevens, 2. Kyle Cooper, 1. Thomas du Toit

Substitutes: 16. Monde Hadebe, 17. Dale Chadwick, 18. Lourens Adriaanse, 19. JC Astle, 20. Khaya Majola, 21. Conrad Hoffmann, 22. Fred Zeilinga

Read more on:    golden lions  |  sharks  |  currie cup  |  johannesburg  |  rugby

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Sport Talk

Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Your thoughts on the Currie Cup being cut to a one-round tournament in 2018?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.