Lions leap past Leopards in Currie Cup

The Lions stayed on course to reach the semi-finals of the Currie Cup with a solid 31-13 win over the Leopards at Coca-Cola Park on Friday night.


The Lions scored five tries to one against a Leopards side which seemed strangely subdued before the break.


The visitors were disappointing in the first half – especially considering their two good performances in trouncing the Boland Cavaliers and then losing 34-33 to Griquas last weekend.


It’s difficult to judge whether the Lions were very good or the Leopards poor.


Perhaps it was a bit of both or perhaps it was the Lions’ resolve to take matters into their own hands up front early on. Whatever the case, the Lions had their bonus point before the break at which time they led 24-6.


They completely dominated up front and gave the visitors very little possession to attack with before the break. The first score came through an opportunistic try by scrumhalf Jano Vermaak only five minutes into the game.


This was followed by another from captain Willem Alberts a mere four minutes later.


The Lions were all over the Leopards, and the visitors, outplayed up front, had little else to do but defend in that first half. But, as has become a habit with the Lions, they squandered opportunities or near-opportunities with some poor handling.


The Lions’ options were perhaps slightly better than against the Sharks at the same venue three weeks ago, but in the end it was the domination up front, where Man of the Match Alberts was outstanding, which separated the two sides.


He had a stormer and often kept two or three players occupied with his strength from the scrum break or on the run to put his team on the front foot.


The Lions’ other two tries in the first half came from No 6 flank Derick Minnie – who again impressed with his work rate and his ability to turn over possession – and Dusty Noble.


The winger is having a very good season in stark contrast to last year when he was hesitant under the high ball and ineffective on attack.


Noble has clearly worked on his game and his try in the corner after a good Lions build-up was reward for a first half’s honest work. After a first half of some good but especially pleasing rugby, the second half started rather sedately.


The fire seemed to be gone from the Lions side after an initial sortie or two into the opponents’ quarter and the Leopards, with a little more ball than before the break, posed a few serious questions – to the extent that Basil de Doncker scored after 20 minutes after a turnover in the Leopards half to bring the score to 31-13.


This try came just after Lions flyhalf Ruan Boshoff had scored his first Currie Cup try after a good Lions attack and excellent off-load.


The Leopards were not really back in the game with the gap still 18 points, but then dominated enough territory to keep the Lions on the back foot until the they shook off the shackles and twice looked dangerous in the last 12 minutes or so.


To their credit, the Lions defence – strong all season – stood firm when the Leopards threatened and were also saved by a knock-on in their in-goal area after the final hooter.

Final Score Golden Lions 31 Leopards 13


Golden Lions
Tries- Vermaak, Alberts, Noble, Minnie, Boshoff
Pen –
Cons- Boshoff 3


Tries- De Doncker
Pen- Dumond 2
Con- Dumond

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