Polokwane - The Xerox Golden Lions held off a strong second-half performance from the Assupol Limpopo Blue Bulls on their way to a 31-21 (half-time 17-6) win in their Vodacom Cup North Section match at Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane on Friday.
The young Golden Lions’ team, made up of under-21 players, scored four tries to complete a bonus-point win but they were made to work hard for their victory by a Limpopo team that trailed by just three points with 10 minutes to play.
The first quarter of the match was a stop-start affair with neither team able to find any rhythm. The Lions had the better of the early exchanges but their attacking endeavour was thwarted by handling errors and some desperate defence from Limpopo.
The visitors roared into a 10-0 lead after just six minutes thanks to an early penalty from flyhalf Warren Potgieter before hooker Malcolm Mark ran onto a pass from eighthman Jano Venter to score a converted try.
Limpopo were being forced to live on scraps but they were kept in the contest thanks to two penalties from pivot Anton Beswick.
Heavy rain started falling just before the end of the first half but the Golden Lions were not put off by the inclement conditions and they added to their score a minute before the break when flank Thabo Mabuza was mauled over from 10 metres out for a converted try as the Lions reached halftime holding a nine-point lead.
The rain had almost disappeared by the time the second half kicked off although a strong wind and picked up with Limpopo playing with the wind at their backs.
The hosts began the second stanza in a positive fashion and they narrowed the gap to just four points, eight minutes after the restart, after tighthead prop Peet Vorster barrelled his way over from close range for a converted try.
But the Golden Lions struck back almost immediately when flank Cyle Brink was mauled over for a converted try after a lineout five metres from Limpopo’s tryline.
Limpopo were playing with far more confidence in the second half and they grabbed their second try of the half when fullback Sheldon van den Berg gathered an errant kick before feeding left wing Fanie Raseroka who sprinted over from 22 metres out for a try to make the score 24-18 in favour of the Lions with 20 minutes left to play.
Beswick nailed his third penalty to make the deficit just three points in the 69th minute but the Lions made sure of the win when replacement scrumhalf Christiaan Meyer snuck over from close range for a converted try after a tighthead from the visitor’s scrum just five metres from Limpopo’s line.
Assupol Limpopo Blue Bulls
Tries: Peet Vorster, Fanie Raseroka
Conversion: Anton Beswick
Penalties: Beswick (3)
Xerox Golden Lions
Tries: Malcolm Marx, Thabo Mabuza, Cyle Brink, Christiaan Meyer
Conversions: Warren Potgieter (4)