Griquas to good for Lions in Currie Cup

Griquas’ dream start to the Currie Cup  season surged ahead even more after they delivered a tough performance to edge out the Lions 23-19 at Coca-Cola Park on Friday night.


The men from Kimberley led 20-7 at half time after which they held off a strong challenge from the home side in the second period to retain a convincing lead atop the Cup log.


Griquas started off the better side with flyhalf Naas Olivier kicking well tactically and effectively making Lions fullback Earl Rose run around a lot.


The visitors also claimed cleaner line-out posession and built pressure from there. But it was from a counter attack after an aimless Lions kick that the first try came to being.


Dewald Pretorius caught the ball and swung it back in field to Olivier. The former Stormer again put it on the boot to chase and when opposite number Herkie Kruger couldn’t gather, Olivier booted it ahead again and scored from there.


Olivier and Rose were the main figures in the match for various reasons.


The Griquas’ flyhalf next turned culprit as he threw an intercept pass to Rose with his team hot on the attack. Rose nearly ran all the way but was caught from behind by Griquas’ flyer Bjorn Basson. He did offload to Alwyn Hollenbach (centre) though and the latter opened the Lions account.


An Olivier penalty shortly before the Lions’ try ensured the visitors were still in front and after 26 minutes they stretched the lead through a try by Barry Geel (centre).


Lively Griqua loose forward and captain Jonathan Mokuena set up the try by offloading well in a tackle situation and Geel had only one man to beat.

 

It was Rose, and the Lions fullback failed to pull his opponent down and Geel dotted down. Five minutes before the break Olivier kicked another penalty and the Griqua lead was stretched to 20-7.

That was also the half time score. The Lions did claw back three points after the break through the boot of Kruger.


One of the moments of the match followed early in the second half when Lions eighthman, Willem Alberts, smashed Griqua centre Jaco Bekker off his feet in a rock hard tackle which would surely have been named the hit of the season had the game been broadcast on television for all to see. This inspired the Lions and Kruger soon kicked another penalty.


The Lions nearly shot themselves in the foot though, when a late charge by their centre Rouan Cloete left them with 14 men for 10 minutes.

 

Griquas didn’t score in this period though but managed to get their first points of the second half through a penalty by Riaan Viljoen.

It was the Lions who piled on the pressure in the later stages though and Kruger again closed the gap with a penalty kick leaving the Lions with a four point deficit in the dying minutes.


But that was it for the home side as the Griqua defence proved strong enough to last out the 80 minutes.


For the winning side compliments must go to a tight five who not only did their basic chores well but also shone in the loose play – none more so than lock Jacques Lombaard and prop Ruaan du Preez.


In the backs Olivier always had the ever reliable Geel on his outside whilst Basson and Viljoen were their main strike runners in the game.


Plaudits must go to Lions’ backs Dusty Noble and Hollenbach as well as the big hitting Alberts for good performances.


But the home loss will hurt Lions coach Hans Coetzee and his team, while the celebrations continue for Griquas’ Dawie Theron.


The victory comes only two days after he was named Currie Cup coach of the month.


Final Score Lions 19 (7) Griquas 23 (20)


Scorers


Lions-
Try: Alwyn Hollenbach.
Conversion: Herkie Kruger.
Penalties Kruger 3.


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