Griquas kept their Currie Cup semi-final hopes alive thanks to a well-earned 37-21 bonus-point win over the Golden Lions.
Griquas kept their Currie Cup semi-final hopes alive thanks to a hard-faught 37-21 bonus-point win over the Golden Lions in Kimberley on Saturday.
The hosts, trailing at the bottom of the standings before kick-off, needed a win against the tournament leaders to avoid a possible relegation battle with one game remaining.
In an evenly contested first half, Griquas pulled away in the final ten minutes of the match with Rocco Jansen running over for the all-important fourth try to seal the deal and take them into the top four.
Griquas started well and put the Lions under pressure, but the visitors remained calm and exerted pressure early in the match.
Veteran fly-half Butch James kicked his first penalty in the ninth minute to get the Lions on the scoreboard, and the Johannesburg side followed it up with some attractive play.
Their inability, however, to keep the ball in hand meant many chances went astray. Griquas got an early chance to put themselves on the scoreboard, but fly-half Francois Brummer failed to convert a penalty attempt.
The Lions got their opening five-pointer after a patient passage of play and a well executed rolling maul. The hosts sacked the first, but flanker Cobus Grobbelaar spearheaded the next one and went over for the visitors.
James missed with the conversion, but the opening try set the Lions alight as they took control of the game.
With 15 minutes remaining in the first half, big lock Michael Rhodes scored the visiting side's second try after they had the Griquas defence up in arms, and James converted.
The home team eventually scored their first try when prop Lourens Adriaanse shimmied his way over the line for what at first glance looked like a double movement. But the television match official gave the try the green light and Brummer converted to put his side back in striking distance.
Soon after, number eigh Leon Karemaker put the hosts within one point, scoring a converted try from the back of the scrum, but James had the last say of the first half, kicking a penalty on the hooter to give his side some breathing space.
The Lions made too many errors at the start of the second half, and some ill-disciplined play cost them their advantage.
Brummer capitalised with his kicking boot as the hosts took charge.
Griquas looked the more composed of the two sides and it showed when Jansen ran in for their third converted try to put the Lions under immense pressure.
James kicked another penalty 13 minutes from full-time, but the Lions still had six points to make up.
Griquas remained a threat as Brummer kicked another penalty, and Jansen converted turnover ball into his second-five pointer, dotting down in the corner for a converted try, and the home side's bonus point, to put the result beyond doubt.
Tries: Adriaanse, Karemaker, Jansen 2
Cons: Brummer 3
Pens: Brummer 3
For Golden Lions:
Tries: Grobbelaar, Rhodes
Pens: James 3
Griquas: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Jannie Boshoff, 13 Jean Stemmet, 12 JP Nel, 11 Rocco Jansen, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Marnus Schoeman, 8 Leon Karemaker, 7 Justin Downey, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Martin Muller, 4 Ligtoring Landman, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Ryno Barnes (c), 1 Steph Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Matt Dobson, 17 Ivann Espag, 18 Edwin Hewitt, 19 Jaco Nepgen, 20 Jacques Coetzee, 21 Marnitz Boshoff, 22 Walter Venter.
Golden Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Deon Helberg, 13 Deon Van Rensburg, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Ruan Combrinck, 10 Butch James, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Jaco Kriel, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 Franco Van der Merwe, 4 Michael Rhodes, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 JC Janse Van Rensburg (c).
Replacements: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Willie Britz, 19 Derick Minnie, 20 Guy Cronje, 21 Dylan Des Fountain, 22 James Kamana.
Referee: Mark Lawrence