The Golden Lions claimed a 41-11 bonus-point victory over the Pumas in Nelspruit on Friday, writes MARIETTE ADAMS.
It was the visitors’ fourth straight victory and second over the Pumas in this year’s competition, following their 44-27 win at Ellis Park.
In an error-strewn and ill-disciplined first half, the Lions took a 16-3 lead into the break, thanks to flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff. The Pumas’ cause wasn’t helped by the sin-binning of four players and 18 penalties conceded.
The Pumas gave away an early penalty try when captain Stefan Watermeyer was yellow-carded for deliberately slapping the ball down close to the tryline and Boshoff popped over the conversion.
His opposite number JC Roos then missed two penalties and was made to pay when Boshoff added two penalty goals for a 13-point advantage. The scrums were a lottery and with half-time beckoning, the Pumas got a penalty at the set piece and Roos redeemed himself with his first successful attempt at goal.
There was, however, still time for the restart and Boshoff restored the Lions' 13-point cushion with a well-struck long range drop goal to end the half.
Boshoff nailed two penalties after the restart, but the Pumas kept in touch with a Roos penalty and a brilliant try by Faf de Klerk. Hooker Frank Herne took a flat pass in a gap, stepped off his right foot to beat a defender and released the scrumhalf, who did the rest.
From then on the men from Johannesburg took control of proceedings, with a dominant display up front led by replacement front rowers Malcolm Marx and Julian Redelinghuys.
The duo won yet another scrum penalty and Boshoff found touch right on the 22. Sevens specialist Kwagga Smith was the receiver at the lineout and in possession as the Lions drove over the line for a second converted try.
With pressure building on the hosts, flank Marnus Schoeman received his marching orders for not releasing the ball on the ground. With the one-man advantage Lions loosehead prop Jacques van Rooyen barged over for the third effort and Boshoff again added the extras.
It went from bad to worse for the Pumas, when flank Uzair Cassiem and prop Khwezi Mona were sent off in the space of eight minutes. And they couldn't deny the Lions the sought after bonus-point try, scored by Smith, which lifted Johan Ackermann's charges to the summit of the log.
Pumas – Try: Faf de Klerk. Penalty: JC Roos (2).
Golden Lions – Tries: Penalty try, Kwagga Smith (2), Jacques van Rooyen. Conversion: Marnitz Boshoff (3). Penalties: Boshoff (4). Drop goal: Boshoff.
Pumas – 15 JW Bell, 14 Bernado Botha, 13 Jerome Pretorius, 12 Stefan Watermeyer (c), 11 Rosco Speckman, 10 JC Roos, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Jason-Colin Fraser, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Giant Mtyanda, 4 Rudi Mathee, 3 Khwezi Mona, 2 Frank Herne, 1 Corné Fourie.
Subs: 16 Francois du Toit, 17 De-Jay Terblanche, 18 Jannie Stander, 19 Jaco Bouwer, 20 Reynier van Rooyen, 21 Justin van Staden, 22 Hoffmann Maritz.
Golden Lions – 15 Ruan Combrinck, 14 Sampie Mastriet, 13 Stokkies Hanekom, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Ross Cronjé (c), 8 Fabian Booysen, 7 Stephan de Wit, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Martin Muller, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Subs: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Julian Redelinghuys, 18 MB Lusaseni, 19 Jano Venter, 20 Jaco van der Walt, 21 Alwyn Hollenbach, 22 Anthony Volmink.
Photo: Dirk Kotze/Gallo Images