Lions snatch dramatic draw

2011-10-01 16:47

Bloemfontein - The Golden Lions staged a fine comeback to snatch a 25-25 (halftime 15-5) draw against the Free State Cheetahs in their Absa Currie Cup match in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

The Cheetahs will be kicking themselves because they seemed to have the win sown up with a 25-11 lead going into the last four minutes. But things quickly turned sour for the home side after replacement scrumhalf Tewis de Bruyn was yellow-carded for collapsing a maul and the Lions wasted no time in making their second-half dominance count.

In a ferocious game of rugby, played in fantastic spirit, the Cheetahs opened up a sizeable lead thanks to the top-class kicking of flyhalf Johan Goosen and a second-half try by scrumhalf Piet van Zyl.

Goosen went off early in the second half after a terrible clash of heads with Lions fullback Jaco Taute, a hushed crowd seeing him strapped on to a stretcher. But the 19-year-old was able to make a groggy appearance at the post-match presentation to receive his man of the match award.

There was very little in the first-half possession and territory stats, but the Lions lacked continuity thanks to an awful display at the breakdowns, where they failed dismally to adapt to the interpretations of referee Marius Jonker.

He began his torment of the Lions in the fourth minute as he penalised flank Derick Minnie for playing the ball on the ground and Goosen stepped up to convert the kick (3-0).

The Lions replied, though, with the opening try of the match as they quickly spread the ball wide and wing Deon van Rensburg did superbly well as he held off prop Coenie Oosthuizen on the touchline and managed to pop a pass inside for flank Cobus Grobbelaar to score.

When the Cheetahs played the Lions in Johannesburg back in August, it was their goalkicking that let them down in a 10-17 defeat, but Goosen made it clear that was not going to be a problem on Saturday, slotting another penalty in the 12th minute. Many sage critics believe the Grey College product is the real deal, not just because he has a massive, seemingly unerring boot. It was Goosen's break that led to the penalty, although it seemed harsh of Jonker to adjudge Lions scrumhalf Michael Bondesio to have tackled flank Philip van der Walt while he was on the ground, because the attacking player ran into his legs.

Goosen's opposite number Elton Jantjies has also been in excellent form this season, but he had an off day on Saturday and he missed the conversion of the Lions' try as well as a 17th-minute penalty. Goosen rubbed it in with an exceptional 40-metre drop goal after strong driving by the Cheetahs forwards seven minutes later.

Goosen ended an outstanding first half with two more penalties and the home side were looking good at 15-5 to the good.

The Lions dominated possession from the outset of the second half, but their efforts would be stymied by poor decision-making, basic errors or a turnover at the breakdown.

Cheetahs wing Ryno Benjamin was quickly on to outside centre Doppies la Grange as he took a poor, looping pass from Jantjies, and he then hacked through the dropped ball. A push on wing Michael Killian as he ran back to pick up the ball went unpunished by Jonker, and, after a couple of rucks, Van Zyl sniped over for Free State's only try. Sias Ebersohn, a fine flyhalf in his own right, slotted the conversion (25-8), his first kick at goal after replacing the unfortunate Goosen.

Benjamin quickly undid his good work by going offsides at a ruck, presenting Jantjies with a penalty (11-25).

The Lions continued to dominate, but the turning point would be the 74th minute when De Bruyn was given his marching orders. The visitors quickly cut the deficit to 18-25 as replacement prop Jacobie Adriaanse burrowed over from close range and Jantjies converted the try.

The levelling-try was a marvellous effort by the Lions as replacement hooker Martin Bezuidenhout burst from a ruck and made an excellent offload in the tackle to replacement flank Warren Whiteley. The Durban product went on a great run, drew the defender perfectly and sent Killian speeding away for the try.

Jantjies put his earlier kicking woes behind him to curl the tricky conversion over and ensure an important share of the spoils for the Lions.


Toyota Free State Cheetahs - Try: Piet van Zyl. Conversion: Sias Ebersohn. Penalties: Johan Goosen (5), Ebersohn.

MTN Golden Lions
- Tries: Cobus Grobbelaar, Jacobie Adriaanse, Michael Killian. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (2). Penalties: Jantjies (2).


Free State Cheetahs:
15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Ryno Benjamin, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Philip Snyman, 11 Cameron Jacobs, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Ashley Johnson, 7 Philip van der Walt, 6 Lappies Labuschagne, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Francois Uys, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Marcel van der Merwe

Substitutes: 16 Hercu Liebenberg, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 Boom Prinsloo, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Andries Strauss

Golden Lions:
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 Derick Minnie, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Michael Rhodes, 3 Patric Cilliers, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg

Substitutes: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Jacobie Adriaanse, 18 David Bulbring, 19 Warren Whiteley, 20 Burton Francis, 21 James Kamana, 22 Dylan des Fountain


  • CITIZEN - 2011-10-01 16:55


  • daspoort - 2011-10-01 17:04

    Met 2 en 'n half minute oor, 7 punte voor en Vrystaat skop die bal weg wat toe lei tot die Leeus se laaste drie. Die Springbokke het dit ook al baie gedoen. Wanneer gaan SA afrigters bykom en besef jy skop nie die bal weg in die laaste 3-5min van 'n game nie. Jy hou dit. Hoe moeilik is dit om te verstaan???? Cheetahs julle het hierdie game weggemoer. Nes my geliefde WP besig is om hulle kanse te laat gaan

      CITIZEN - 2011-10-01 17:17

      daspoort die games is nou tough die manne maak mistakes onder pressure dit is maklik vir ons maar daar waar hulle speel is hard ons moet maar geduldig wees

  • Ryno Burger - 2011-10-01 17:32

    Poor game! But good comeback at the end boys!!!

      Charlie the man - 2011-10-02 06:52

      The Cheetahs lost it when they lost there star player Goosen. He is really one for the future. Jantjies seems to lose focus don't get me wrong he is a great player though. The Lions needs to off load in the tackle and when they brake the line of defence they need to have somebody on their backs to offload to. They had a number of those defensive breaks and then isolated themselves. Jaco Taute is a great player but needs to learn when to pass, there were a couple of times where we had an overlap but failed to pass the ball at the right time. Killian should also put in more of an effort to look for work he just seems to wait for the opportunity to have an open run to the party line.

  • Vickers - 2011-10-01 17:34

    WOW! What a cruncher! These 2 teams should be in the final.

      John Douglas - 2011-10-01 19:05

      Get rid of Elton Jantjies if you want to stand a chance.

  • Northern Stormer - 2011-10-01 17:57

    Excellent game of rugby played by two teams who were both hungry for a win !! Well done Lions for coming back with passion !!!

      AMS-Dammer - 2011-10-01 18:17

      BRILLIANT!!!!! I have supported the LIONS and the old Transvaall for YONKS... Now that I live abroad... it is interesting to see the LIONS on the TOP of the LOG for a change.... GO LIONS! Also strange to see that the 2 Teams ontop of the Log, Lions and Sharks have New Zealand coaches!!!! Does that say something about the state of Rugby in South Africa?????

  • StaalBurgher - 2011-10-01 19:53

    I had a mini heart attack when I saw Goosen stretchered off. Damn he is good. Bok flyhalf in the near future forsure. His injury contributed a lot to the Lions making a comeback.

      AMS-Dammer - 2011-10-02 09:43

      Must admit.... Doubt young Johan Goosen will be with the Cheatahs for next season... There will be BIG OFFERS MADE FOR THIS CHAMPION from the BIGGER UNIONS!!!!!!!!!!

      Met - 2011-10-02 12:52

      When will it eventually penetrate your brains(sic) that it will no longer be that easy to poach the young Cheetahs. Clubs from around the world tried to get Brussouw, but failed. All the Cheetahs key players have committed themselves contractually for 2-3 years.If you cannot talk sense, keep quite and concentrate on the huge challenge of cultivating and developing your own young players.

      Kleinboet - 2011-10-02 15:54

      Suddenly there are excellent flyhalves everywhere. Goosen might have to wait a little longer for that honour to come his way! Don't promote youngsters to the Springbok realm before 1) they are experienced; 2) they have proven themselves not to be mayflies; 3) they have grown up and become hardened. Don't fall in the same trap as Blue Bull supporters usually do! If one of their players have half a good game, he is all of a sudden a Springbok! Yes, the youngster looks as if he may have excellent prospects; but he has not really been tested yet.

  • mike881 - 2011-10-01 21:10

    Three tries vs one says it all. Other than the one drop goal all the other FS points thanks to Marius Jonker. Most calls were legit but there were a good number of dodgy calls by MJ. Johan Goosen if managed correctly is without doubt the future Springbok number 10. He has the natural skills and talent to be as good, if not better than Daniel Carter. Go Lions!!!

      AMS-Dammer - 2011-10-02 09:40

      That Goosen boy is BRILLIANT!!!! What a find.... he and Lambie will only do SA RUGBY the WORLD OF GOOD!!!!!

      Kleinboet - 2011-10-02 16:12

      When I saw that Marius Jonker was refereeing your game I said an ejaculation because that meant that my game (WP-Sharks) were saved from his manipulations. What was the eventual penalty count on both sides? I did not count but I noticed that the Lions were flabbergasted on several occasions. That's our Plonkers for you! Only time will tell whether young Goosen is a mayfly or has the makings of a really good flyhalf. He has not really been tested so far, but you can be sure he is being studied in detail by the other teams' coaches! He is clearly badly concussed and will be out for several weeks. Still, I agree, a very bright prospect who might make it to the top eventually.

  • ROOIHART - 2011-10-01 21:38

    Welgedaan. Lekker om bietjie fightback te sien. Maar ek weet as goosen nie afgegaan het nie en tewis nie geelkaart gekry het nie sou ons gesukkel het om te wen.

  • Kleinboet - 2011-10-02 16:20

    Well done to both teams! You really played your hearts out. It could well be that you will meet again in the cup final. I hope that you will have the services of a top referee should that happen. Having said that: I will back my WP until such time as they have been eliminated!

  • Draconian - 2011-10-03 10:27

    & Jantjies screws us out of another win! Is there a reason behind this rugby style of madness? Apart from giving us several heart stoppages within 80 mins of play? Why the sudden decline in play, as we are about to reach the end, so does the flair of the team? The reason we lost, were due to kicks from little Jantjies. Come on boys, wake up!!! don't sit back on your laurels now! " GO LIONS!!!! "

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