Lions beat Cheetahs, will play WP in Currie Cup final

Rohan Janse van Rensburg on the charge for the Lions

The Golden Lions have set up a Currie Cup final against Western Province at Emirates Airline (Ellis) Park after beating the Free State Cheetahs  43-33 in their Semi-final.

Western Province reached the 2015 Currie Cup final by beating the Blue Bulls 23-18 at Loftus Versfeld in their Semi-final held on Friday.

A combination of poor discipline and average goal kicking cost the visiting side dearly as they had a rare opportunity to see off the side that has set the pace throughout this year’s tournament.

The Lions will host Western Province in the final next week at the same venue.

The visiting Cheetahs set the tone early on when centre Francois Venter capitalised on lazy defense by the home side.

Venter split two defenders and finished in style to give his team a 5-0 lead in the 4th minute of the match.

The Lions struck back 10-minutes later when flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff produced a brilliant touch finder that allowed his men to set up a rolling maul.

Flank Jaco Kriel was credited for the team effort and Boshoff converted to give his team the lead (7-5).

The lead would change hands again in the 20th minute when Cheetahs pivot Niel Marais knocked over a penalty to make it 7-8.

Marais extended the advantage to 7-11 with another well-timed strike after the Lions were again penalised for an infringement at a ruck.

While solid at scrum time the Lions were far from the finished product whenever they entered the visiting side’s 22 and would eventually settle for a penalty by Boshoff to stay in touch with the rampant Cheetahs.

The frailties the Lions showed in defence continued to make life easy for the Cheetahs and after they were penalised for holding on to the ball at a breakdown, Boom Prinsloo scored his team’s second try of the afternoon in the 30th minute.

Even though Marais was again unable to convert the try, the Cheetahs were up 10-16 and did exceptionally well to prevent their hosts from gaining momentum.

Minutes before the break Boshoff converted another penalty, but again it was a case of his team being unable to convert quality front-foot ball into a try.

Trailing 13-16 after the first 40, the Lions needed desperately to up the match tempo.

They would also need something special to get through a very sturdy Cheetahs defence and that happened when lock Lourens Erasmus dived over after his teammates produced some magic from broken field play.

Boshoff converted and again the lead changed hands with the home side opening up a four-point lead (20-16).

This made for a thrilling final 30-minute passage of play and the Cheetahs provided the sparks when Gerhard Olivier went over before Marais joined the party in the 56th minute with a try of his own (20-28).

Desperate to try and get back into the match, the Lions were still guilty of fumbling the ball close to the try-line but didn’t need to put a hand on the ball when they were awarded a penalty try from a collapsed scrum in the 65th minute – levelling the scores.

Prior to the scrum, the Cheetahs were dealt a heavy blow when Prinsloo was sent-off for repeated infringements at the breakdown.

With Boshoff’s conversion, the Lions took the lead (30-28), but that advantage lasted less than five minutes as replacement Sias Ebersohn struck back in the 66th minute with a penalty.

Again the Cheetahs missed the conversion (the fourth of the afternoon) and they were punished minutes later when Kriel ran in his second try of the afternoon – shrugging off three defenders in the process.

With 10-minutes remaining the Lions enjoyed a 37-33 lead and would have a two-man advantage when prop BG Uys was sent-off for repeated scrum infringements.

Boshoff kicked another penalty to make the match safe while the Cheetahs will be hugely disappointed that they left eight points through missed kicks on the field.

Final Score Golden Lions 43  Free State Cheetahs 33

Scorers – 

Golden Lions
Tries: Kriel 2, Erasmus, Penalty Try
Cons: Boshoff 4
Pens: Boshoff 5

Free State Cheetahs
Tries: Venter, Prinsloo, Olivier, Marais, Ebersohn
Con: Marais
Pens: Marais 2

Teams

Golden Lions

1. Jacques van Rooyen, 2. Malcolm Marx, 3. Julian Redelinghuys, 4. Lourens Erasmus, 5. Franco Mostert, 6. Jaco Kriel (c), 7. Steph de Witt , 8. Warren Whiteley, 9. Ross Cronje, 10. Marnitz Boshoff, 11. Anthony Volmink, 12. Howard Mnisi, 13. Stokkies Hanekom, 14. Courtnall Skosan, 15. Andries Coetzee

Replacements ; 16. Robbie Coetzee, 17. Ruan Dreyer, 18. Fabian Booysen, 19. Kwagga Smith, 20. Jaco van der Walt, 21. Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 22. Sampie Mastriet.

Cheetahs

15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Rayno Benjamin, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Niel Marais, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 6 Boom Prinsloo, 5 Francois Uys (captain), 4 Armandt Koster, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Jacques du Toit,1 BG Uys.

Replacements: 16 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 17 Maks van Dyk, 18 Reniel Hugo, 19 Gerhard Olivier, 20 Ruan van Rensburg, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 AJ Coertzen

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