The Golden Lions claimed a convincing 38-23 win over the Free State Cheetahs in their Currie Cup clash in Bloemfontein on Saturday
The Golden Lions claimed a convincing 38-23 win over the Free State Cheetahs in their Currie Cup clash in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
Accurate goal-kicking from Elton Jantjies, who finished the match with 18 points via four penalties and three conversions, paved the way to victory for the tournament's defending champions.
The Lions started the match brightly when Franco van der Merwe intercepted a loose Cheetahs pass inside his opponents' 22, in the 10th minute, before scoring under the posts.
His effort was preceded by two penalties from Jantjies and a three-pointer by Nico Scheepers for the home side.
The Cheetahs struck back with a try of their own in the 17th minute when their tighthead prop Marcell van der Merwe showed tremendous strength to shake off two tacklers before barging over.
Scheepers added two further penalties to give his side a 16-13 lead before a beautifully constructed Ruan Combrinck try, shortly before half-time, gave the visitors a 20-16 lead at the break.
From a line-out close to the halfway mark, Combrinck ran onto an inside pass from Jantjies at pace before beating Scheepers with a deft side-step to cross over.
Jantjies added the extra two points and shortly after the restart the visitors scored their third try when Deon Helberg benefited from good support play.
The speedster went over the whitewash after taking a pass from Lionel Mapoe, who broke through the Cheetahs' defence in the build-up.
The home side tried gallantly to get back into the match – none more so than young wing Raymond Rhule who went on some exciting attacking runs – but the Lions extended their lead with two further penalties from Jantjies.
Marcel van der Merwe gave his team and their supporters hope of getting something from the match when he scored his second try, from close quarters, in the 70th minute but it wasn't to be as Combrink secured the win, and the try-scoring bonus point, when he went over for his second try five minutes later.
The victory means that the Lions stay at the top of the standings for this week while the Cheetahs' loss sees them dropping out of the play-off places.
For Free State Cheetahs:
Tries: M van der Merwe 2
Cons: Scheepers 2
Pens: Scheepers 3
For Golden Lions:
Tries: Combrinck 2, F van der Merwe, Helberg
Cons: Jantjies 3
Pens: Jantjies 4
Yellow card: Franco van der Merwe (professional foul)
Free State Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Nico Scheepers, 13 Robert Ebersohn (c), 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Tewis de Bruyn, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Hendro Scholtz, 7 Lappies Labuschagne, 6 Heinrich Brussow, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Francois Uys, 3 Marcell van der Merwe, 2 Hercu Liebenberg, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Elandre Huggett, 17 Ross Geldenhuys, 18 Carl Wegner, 19 Davon Raubenheimer, 20 Sias Ebersohn, 21 Philip Snyman, 22 Rayno Benjamin.
Golden Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Deon Helberg, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Ruan Combrinck, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Willie Britz, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 Franco Van der Merwe, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg (c).
Replacements: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Etienne Oosthuizen, 19 Michael Rhodes, 20 Ross Cronje, 21 Butch James, 22 Jaco Taute.
Referee: Sindile Mayende