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Griquas delivered a strong performance to beat defending champions the Lions 30-24 in their Currie Cup match at Griqua Park, in Kimberley, on Saturday.
Though Griquas trailed early on, once they took the lead with just over 20 minutes played they continued to grind down a Lions side bereft of their Springbok contingent. Griquas did not relinquish the lead at any stage after that and were well worth their hard-earned victory.
The Kimberley-based side enjoyed the majority of possession and territory and did not allow the Lions to put together their trademark expansive play at any stage.
It was the first defeat for the Lions since the 2014 Currie Cup final which Western Province won.
Lions hooker Armand van der Merwe snapped up a loose ball in the Griquas 22 to barge over for the opening try of the match with less than 60 seconds played. Flyhalf Jaco van der Walt nudged over the conversion to make it 7-0.
Griquas centre Clinton Swart got his side on the board with a long distance penalty in the 16th minute to make it 7-3.
After some good build-up play by the home side in the 22nd-minute fullback, AJ Coertzen rounded off to score under the posts. Swart added the extra two to hit the front at 10-7.
Griquas were soon out to a 13-7 lead when Swart added another penalty in the 26th minute.
Griquas were over for another score just on the half-hour mark after pressing the Lions tryline. Prop Stephan Kotze fell over the whitewash under the posts, and again Swart had no problem with the conversion to make it 20-7 to Griquas.
The Lions finally responded with a try against the run of play in the 34th minute as centre Howard Mnisi darted over. With a missed conversion, the Lions had to be content at eight points behind at 20-12 in favour of the hosts.
The Lions began the second half in the same fashion as the first with a try inside 60 seconds. Loose forward Cyle Brink finished off a flowing Lions move to dot down in the corner. Marnitz Boshoff added the extra two while Van der Walt was in the sin-bin to make it 20-19.
Griquas would be the next to score as they put together a number of phases in the Lions 22 before they were awarded a penalty five metres out. Griquas number nine Rudi Van Rooyen took a quick penalty and darted over next to the posts. Swart had no problem from in front again, to restore his side’s eight-point lead at 27-19 after 51 minutes.
Replacement flyhalf Andre Swart made it 30-19 to Griquas through a penalty with just 12 minutes remaining.
The Lions hit back with a try from prop Corne Fourie in the corner following a lineout from close range in the 75th minute. Boshoff, crucially, could not add the conversion with Griquas up 30-24.
Griquas, however, were able to take play into the Lions half for the remainder of the match and held out for the win.
Final Score Lions 24 (12) Griquas 30 (20)
Armand van der Merwe, Howard Mnisi, Cyle Brink, Corne Fourie
Conversions: Jaco van der Walt, Marnitz Boshoff
Tries: AJ Coertzen, Stephan Kotze, Rudi Van Rooyen
Conversions: Clinton Swart (3)
Penalties: Clinton Swart (2), Andre Swart.
Mahuza Sylvian , Skosan Courtnall , Hanekom Stokkies , Mnisi Howard , Volmink Anthony , Van Der Walt Jaco , Cronje (c) Ross , Ackermann Ruan , Brink Cyle , De Wit Steph , Erasmus Lourens , Lusaseni MB , Van Rooyen Jacques , Van Der Merwe Akker , Smith Dylan
Replacements : Samuels Ramone , Fourie Corne , De Wee Bobby , Lerm Ruaan , Smit Dillon , Boshoff Marnitz , Nel Jacque
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