Golden Lions top Currie Cup with Pumas victory

The Golden Lions moved to the top of the Currie Cup standings when they beat the Pumas 29-15 at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg on Friday.

The Lions overtook Western Province courtesy of a bonus point victory although their position could be shortlived as Western Province play on Saturday where a win could return them to the top.

The Lions established early dominance as they scored four minutes from the kick-off before adding a second try in the eighth minute.

While the match had its quality moments, there were times that neither side could string together a decent passage of play due to handling errors.

It could easily have been advantage to the visitors when they were en route for the first try of the night, but one of the passes was adjudged to have gone forward.

Instead the hosts celebrated when centre Stokkies Hanekom sold a dummy to the outside before stepping inside to score in the fourth minute, with Ruan Combrinck converting.

Buoyed by the early lead and a dominating driving maul the Lions attacked the line with gusto, which paid dividends in the eighth minute.

After initially being denied the five-pointer when the assistant referee indicated flanker Kwagga Smith had stepped out on the way to the try the Television Match Official was consulted.

Although Smith came painstakingly close to stepping out, he managed to keep the ball in play which prop Ruan Dreyer picked up at ankle height to score.

The Lions loose trio of Smith, eightman Willie Britz and Jaco Kriel again made a nuisance of themselves in the loose and at the breakdowns in particular where they slowed the Pumas possession.

To add insult to injury Pumas wing Jerome Pretorius copped a yellow card for taking his opposite number in the air.

The Pumas, however, found some composure after the early setbacks and disrupted the Lions lineout and got a slight edge in the scrums.

At the quarter mark, the Pumas got into a favourable scoring position following a superb exit kick by flyhalf Justin van Staden.

The Mpumalanga side camped out in the Lions 22 for five minutes as the hosts conceded penalty after penalty.

The Pumas’ efforts at breaching the Lions’ defence came to nothing and after a few failed attempts they instead opted for the three points with Van Staden converting a penalty to close the gap.

From the restart the Pumas were placed under severe pressure and in an attempt to exit a comedy of errors ensued.

Pouncing on a fumbled ball, Courtnall Skosan picked the ball up a metre from the line to dot down for his side’s third try of the night, while Combrinck converted to hand his side a 19-3 lead.

The second half held little comfort for the Pumas as the Lions again found easy access over the advantage line to clinch the bonus-point try.

Attacking from deep, Lions flyhalf Jaco van der Walt sent a long flat pass to eighthman Willie Britz, who ran into the gaping space where he made some ground before offloading to Hanekom on his inside.

Hanekom in turn found Dreyer, who found Franco Mostert on his shoulder to score their fourth try of the evening.

In the 66th minute Van der Walt added to his side’s score with a drop goal from the left-hand side of the field for a 29-3 scoreline.

Shortly after the restart the Pumas finally found the breakthrough when centre Stefan Watermeyer found the tryline.

The Pumas were again on the wrong side of referee Jaco van Heerden’s whistle when Frankie Herne was shown a yellow card for a dangerous tackle with six minutes to play.

As the siren echoed through the stadium the Pumas got a consolation try with prop Vincent Koch scoring and JC Roos adding the two points to end the match.

Final Score Golden Lions 29 (19) Pumas15 (3)


Golden Lions
Ruan Dr

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