Planet Rugby

Lions back in business

03rd September 2010 20:26

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Conrad Jantjes western province v lions

No way through: The Lions' defence was rock-solid in the second half

The Lions consigned Western Province to their third consecutive Currie Cup defeat thanks to a thrilling come-from-behind 46-28 win in Johannesburg on Friday.

The mastermind behind the home side's spectacular victory was fly-half Elton Jantjies, who bagged a personal haul of 31 points to take his team into the top four of the tournament standings.

However, if the Blue Bulls beat the Sharks on Saturday, John Mitchell's men will end Round Nine in fifth position. Still, that won't stop the revived franchise from pushing on for a place in the play-offs following yet another confidence-boosting result - their fourth on the trot.

Trailing by nine points early in the second half, the Lions racked up 27 unanswered points to bring Coca-Cola Park (Ellis Park) back to its glory days, for it has certainly been a long while since their long suffering supporters were given something this rich to shout about.

In fact, they witnessed first-hand that their team can now officially announce themselves as serious candidates for the semi-finals.

As for WP, they not out of it yet but the former leaders of the competition will be extremely thankful that next week's opposition are yet to post a win in 2010 when they face the Leopards at Newlands.

Their hat-trick loss can be put down to the home side simply taking their chances when they were presented. The Lions' free-running style of play paid dividends, and their rock-solid defence squandered several Province opportunities that the visitors found hard to make up for.

The lead changed hands throughout the first 20 minutes, with Willem de Waal's boot keeping the visitors in the game.

However, a magnificent try from Lions wing Michael Killian, who stole clear from 30m out in the eighth minute, backed by accurate kicking from Jantjies - who was successful with 10 attempts at posts in the match - put the hosts 10-9 ahead midway through the first half.

Western Province countered with a burst of aggression, and after swinging the ball well back and forth, camping on the Lions' try-line, wing JJ Engelbrecht went over in the 23rd minute to give the visitors a 14-10 lead after De Waal's conversion attempt deflected off the right post.

And four minutes later Province scrum-half Dewaldt Duvenage broke clear with a magnificent run, offloading to number eight Duane Vermeulen who dotted down. De Waal made up for his earlier miss to give them a convincing 21-10 lead.

Jantjies, however, kept the Lions in the hunt with three successful penalties before half-time to bring the hosts within two points at 21-19.

The visitors displayed another burst of energy shortly after the break, swinging it both ways before replacement Conrad Hoffmann went over on the left wing, with De Waal again converting and stretching the gap to 28-19.

But Jantjies was superb and wasted no chances, adding three points with every chance he got, and reduced Province's lead to 28-25.

In the 61st minute Lions number eight Warren Whiteley chipped clear from 40m out, chasing the ball all the way to the line before he fumbled it going over. Killian, however, picked up the loose ball to score his brace and regain the lead for the hosts.

Just three minutes later, Killian was again on the prowl, sprinting 80m down the left wing from his team's own try-line before passing to Derick Minnie who dotted down. Jantjies converted both tries and the home side were suddenly in control, having built an 11-point margin at 39-28.

For good measure, Jantjies went over in the 76th minute and fittingly converted his own try to seal the lid on a solid performance.

The scorers:

For Lions:
Tries: Killian 2, Minnie, Jantjies
Cons: Jantjies 4
Pens: Jantjies 6

For Western Province:
Tries: Engelbrecht, Vermeulen, Hoffmann
Cons: De Waal 2
Pens: De Waal 3

Lions: Jaco Taute, Jannie Boshoff, Waylon Murray, Doppies la Grange, Michael Killian, Elton Jantjies, Jano Vermaak, Warren Whiteley, Joshua Strauss, Derick Minnie, Franco van der Merwe (c), George Earle, Ross Geldenhuys, Martin Bezuidenhout , JC Janse van Rensburg
Replacements: Edgar Marutlulle, Wayne Swart, Renaldo Bothma, Johan Snyman, JP Joubert, Burton Francis, Marius Delport

Western Province: Conrad Jantjes, JJ Engelbrecht, Tim Whiteheah, Paul Bosch, Frikkie Welsh, Willem de Waal, Dewaldt Duvenage, Duane Vermeulen, Nick Koster, Francois Louw, Anton van Zyl (c) Adriaan Fondse, Brok Harris, Deon Fourie, JD Moller
Replacements: Callie Visagie, Wicus Blaauw, Buhle Mxunyelwa, De Kock Steenkamp, Pieter Myburgh, Conrad Hoffman, Marcel Brache.

Referee: Mark Lawrence

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