The Golden Lions maintained their unbeaten Currie Cup status, after a 17-10 win over the Free State Cheetahs on Saturday.
The Golden Lions maintained their unbeaten Currie Cup status, after a 17-10 win over the Free State Cheetahs in Johannesburg on Saturday.
The home side dominated most of the match, but they were made to sweat in the closing stages, when Cheetahs prop Coenie Oosthuizen went over the tryline.
However, the burly front rower was denied by the television match official, who could not see whether he had grounded the ball on television replays.
Both teams scored a try apiece, although the home side had more possession and territorial advantage throughout the clash.
Their try came in the 27th minute when their left wing Michael Killian rounded off a superb move, which started inside their half.
After Lions captain Josh Strauss had set up a phase after a break from the base of a scrum, Elton Jantjies, Lionel Mapoe and Jaco Taute combined brilliantly to break through the Cheetahs' defence.
Taute then drew two Cheetahs defenders, before offloading to Killian who crossed over without having a hand layed on him.
Earlier, the visitors opened the scoring in the third minute via a penalty by Sias Ebersohn.
The Cheetahs pivot, who is usually a reliable goalkicker, had a nightmare outing with the boot, and missed two relatively easy penalties either side of half-time.
His opposite number Jantjies had no such problems, and when he was given pportunities to extend his side's lead, he slotted his kicks.
Although it was a good team by the Lions, Jantjies' accurate goalkicking – he succeeded with four penalties – secured them this win.
The Cheetahs battled bravely, but committed too many errors, especially at the rucks.
Their attacking effort was predictably led by their returning Springboks, captain Adriaan Strauss and Ashley Johnson but for most of the match they were stopped in their tracks by a fine defensive effort by the hosts.
Strauss and his fellow loose forwards, Derick Minnie and Cobus Grobbelaar, in particular stood out in this department.
The Lions seemed to be cruising with the score at 17-3 but the Cheetahs battled to the end and before oosthuizen's disallowed effort, their replacement scrum-half Tewis De Bruyn barged over the whitewash from close quarters in the 72nd minute.
Despite the narrow winning margin, the hosts held the upperhand for large periods and they also deserve praise for sticking to their attacking game-plan for the full 80 minutes.
The Johannesburgers' enterprising style of play set up several other try scoring opportunities and although they were camped inside the Cheetahs' half for most of the match, the Bloemfontein-based side kept them out thanks to solid defence.
For Golden Lions:
Pens: Jantjies 4
For Free State Cheetahs:
Try: De Bruyn
Pen: S Ebersohn
Golden Lions: 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Michael Killian, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Joshua Strauss (c), 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Wikus van Heerden, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Patric Cilliers, 18 Johan Snyman, 19 Warren Whiteley, 20 Burton Francis, 21 Jannie Boshoff.
Free State Cheetahs: 15 Riaan Smit, 14 Phillip Snyman, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 CornÃ© Uys, 11 Rayno Benjamin, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Ashley Johnson, 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Johan Wessels, 5 Waltie Vermeulen, 4 Francois Uys, 3 WP Nel, 2 Adriaan Strauss (c), 1 Coenie Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Herkie Liebenberg, 17 Marcel van der Merwe, 18 Izak van der Westhuizen, 19 Pieter Myburgh, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Nico Scheepers, 22 Philip Burger.
Referee: Jason Jaftha