Lions move clear in Currie Cup

Date published: September 5 2015

The Golden Lions secured a hard-fought 37-21 victory over the Eastern Province Kings in Johannesburg on Saturday.

The win means the Lions consolidated their position at the top of the Currie Cup standings, although they weren't always in control of proceedings.

The home side's penchant for running the ball from all areas of the field meant the game was played at a terrific pace but there were times when their decision-making let them down, particularly their habit of trying to keep the ball alive in contact which didn't always have the desired end result as they made several handling errors.

The Kings, who made several changes to their starting line-up after a threatened player strike was averted, were always expected to struggle but they didn't disgrace themselves and were rewarded with three tries.

The men from Port Elizabeth got stronger as the game progressed and actually had the better of the exchanges during the second half until a late rally from the hosts sealed their win.

The Lions raced into a 19-0 lead, after a penalty try and further five pointers from Kwagga Smith and Stokkies Hanekom, but the visitors struck back with well-worked tries by Siyanda Grey and Paul Schoeman.

Gray's effort came when he barged through two tackles close to the Lions' tryline, and Schoeman barged over from a rolling maul deep inside the Lions' 22.

The home side replied with a try from Stephan de Wit on the half-hour mark. This after Howard Mnisi breached the visitors' defence with a telling break before offloading to the on-rushing De Wit close to the Kings' tryline.

Jaco van der Walt failed with the conversion attempt but added a penalty in the 40th minute which meant the hosts held a 27-14 lead at the interval.

The Kings grew more confident in the second half and managed to hold their own for large parts. The Lions seemed rattled when Schoeman got over for his second try, in similar fashion from a line-out drive inside the hosts' 22.

Aspeling added the extras which meant it was a six-point ball-game with 20 minutes left on the clock. 

Lions replacement fly-half Marnitz Boshoff then replied with a penalty, before the Kings' discipline let them down during the last five minutes.

Eital Bredenkamp was first sent to the sin bin for deliberately killing the ball at the breakdown, and, after checking with the television match official, referee Stuart Berry gave Hansie Graaff a red card for deliberately punching a player while clearing out a ruck in the build-up to Ruan Combrinck's try, shortly before the full-time whistle.

The scorers:

For Golden Lions:
Tries: Penalty try, Smith, Hanekom, De Wit, Combrinck
Cons: Van der Walt 2, Boshoff
Pens: Van der Walt, Boshoff

For EP Kings:
Tries: Schoeman 2, Grey
Cons: Aspeling 3
Yellow cards: Bredenkamp, Graaff

Golden Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Stokkies Hanekom, 12 Howard Mnisi (c), 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Lohan Jacobs, 8 Fabian Booysen, 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Stephan de Wit, 5 Martin Muller, 4 MB Lusaseni, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Lourens Erasmus, 19 Jano Venter, 20 Ricky Schroeder, 21 Marnitz Boshoff, 22 Jacques Nel.

EP Kings: 15 Hansie Graaff, 14 Siyanda Grey, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Tim Whitehead (c), 11 Sylvian Mahuza, 10 Karlo Aspeling, 9 Dwayne Kelly, 8 Paul Schoeman, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Thembelani Bholi, 5 Cameron Lindsay, 4 Tazz Fuzani, 3 Simon Kerrod, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Replacements: 16 Michael van Vuuren, 17 Basil Short, 18 Cornell Hess, 19 Eital Bredenkamp, 20 Enrico Acker, 21 Elgar Watts, 22 JP du Plessis.

Referee: Stuart Berry