Johannesburg - The Lions grinded their way to a
well deserved 29-20 win over Western Province at Ellis Park on Saturday
to clinch their first home Currie Cup final since 2002.
half of the match was played in typical semi-final style as the boots
of the respective place kickers did most of the talking.
hosts received the first opportunity to open the scores after four
minutes of play, but fullback Jaco Taute, who was called on to take a
long range penalty kick, could not convert.
sharp-shooting flyhalf, Demetri Catrakilis, however, made no mistake
with his shot at goal five minutes later for the opening three points.
Lions' regular place kicker, Elton Jantjies, soon levelled the scores
as he succeeded with an attempt 12 minutes into the match, and then
added two more to give his side a six-point advantage.
His opposite number replied with a massive shot at goal from the halfway line to reduce the margin to three points once again.
The two kickers exchanged blows one more time as the scores went to 12-9 with eight minutes left in the first half.
the flyhalves ensured the scoreboard was ticking over, there were some
great individual performances that broke some of the monotony.
lock Franco van der Merwe had a cracking game, along with the loose
trio of Derick Minnie, Michael Rhodes and skipper Joshua Strauss.
home side's coach, John Mitchell, had predicted beforehand that the
battle at the breakdown would be crucial, and he was proved correct.
Van der Merwe made a number of exciting line breaks which put Province on the back foot.
Schalk Burger, meanwhile, was at his imposing best for Province as he tirelessly tried to do the work of three loose forwards.
side's efforts to keep the Lions from their try-line, however, proved
fruitless, and four minutes before the half-time break the hosts scored a
Taute scored a well worked try after Rhodes went
on a canter, offloading to Deon van Rensburg, on the wing, who drew Jean
de Villiers before Taute sped over.
Jantjies added the conversion to give his side a 10-point lead going into the interval.
Lions got the rub of the green after the break when wing Michael
Killian was gifted an intercept by Province scrumhalf Nic Groom,
sprinting 40 metres to score his side's second try, with Jantjies again
Catrakilis pulled some points back with a penalty
conversion but his effort was soon reversed when Jantjies returned the
favour with 20 minutes left in the clash.
The final quarter of
the match saw some riveting rugby, with the sides trading blows as
Province desperately attacked the tryline.
They finally breached
the Lions' defence when replacement centre Juan de Jongh found an open
tryline in front of him after the visitors had taken the ball through a
Catrakilis, however, missed the conversion and the
Lions held on to set up a final against defending champions the Sharks
at Ellis Park next week.
15 Jaco Taute, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Doppies
la Grange, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Michael Killian, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9
Michael Bondesio, 8 Joshua Strauss (captain), 7 Michael Rhodes, 6
Derick Minnie, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Wikus van Heerden, 3 Patric
Cilliers, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 CJ Van der Linde
Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Jacobie Adriaanse, 18 Warren Whiteley, 19 Cobus
Grobbelaar/Jaco Kriel, 20 Butch James, 21 Dylan Des Fountain, 22 James
15 Gio Aplon, 14 JJ
Engelbrecht, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean De Villiers,
11 Bryan Habana, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nick Koster, 7
Siya Kolisi, 6 Schalk Burger (captain), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Adriaan
Fondse, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 JC Kritzinger
Substitutes: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Frans Malherbe, 18 Tertius
Daniller, 19 Pieter Louw, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Juan de Jongh, 22