Lions pummel Pumas

The Golden Lions scored four tries in their 29-15 win over the Pumas at Ellis Park on Friday. BRENTON CHELIN reports.

The men from Johannesburg are building nicely heading into the business end of the competition. They are showing a wonderful balance between defence and attack, forwards and backs. Their scrum has become a formidable asset, while their decision-making and execution in the loose is both pleasing on the eye and effective.

All these facets were showcased as early as the third minute. The Lions demolished the Pumas at the first scrum, before sweeping downfield after good work from Courtnall Skosan and Andries Coetzee. The ball was recycled and found its way to Stokkies Hanekom, who sliced through the Pumas defence to open the scoring.

They would get their second a couple minutes later, as the Pumas were helpless to deal with the early onslaught. Kwagga Smith showed quick thinking tight to the touchline, and his offload found Ruan Dreyer who crashed over from short range.

Shortly thereafter, Pumas wing Trompie Pretorius saw yellow for tackling a player in the air. Things were threatening to unravel for Jimmy Stonehouse's charges, but to their credit they worked their way back into the game.

Following a concerted spell of pressure, Justin van Staden got the Pumas on the board with a penalty. All that hard work was undone, though, after a series of reckless passes by the Pumas resulted in Skosan going over for the Lions' third. For all their positive play, the Pumas found themselves 19-3 down just 27 minutes in. It would remain that way until half-time.

The Lions started the second half as they did the first, with a wonderful team try. Willie Britz made the initial break, bursting downfield before dropping the ball off to Stokkies Hanekom on the switch. Hanekom in turn found the irrepressive Ruan Dreyer, who showed sublime hands for Franco Mostert to finish off the move and secure the bonus point.

With the five log points in the bag, the Lions' intensity dropped in the third quarter. Jaco van der Walt slotted a drop goal, before the Pumas were rewarded for their efforts with a try from Stefan Watermeyer, and another from Vincent Koch after the siren sounded.

Golden Lions – Tries: Stokkies Hanekom, Ruan Dreyer, Courtnall Skosan, Franco Mostert. Conversions: Ruan Combrinck (3). Drop goal: Jaco van der Walt.
Pumas – Tries: Stefan Watermeyer, Vincent Koch. Conversion: JC Roos. Penalty: Justin van Staden.

Golden Lions – 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe (c), 12 Stokkies Hanekom, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Ricky Schroeder, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Martin Muller, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Armand van der Merwe, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Subs: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Chris van Zyl, 19 Derick Minnie, 20 Warwick Tecklenburg, 21 Mark Richards, 22 Howard Mnisi.

Pumas – 15 Coenie van Wyk, 14 Jerome Pretorius, 13 JW Jonker, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Rosko Speckman, 10 Justin van Staden, 9 Dylon Frylinck, 8 Renaldo Bothma, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Corné Steenkamp (c), 5 Giant Mtyanda, 4 Frikkie Spies, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Francois du Toit, 1 Corné Fourie.
Subs: 16 Frankie Herne, 17 DeJay Terblanche, 18 Marius Coetzer, 19 Jaco Bouwer, 20 Reynier van Rooyen, 21 JC Roos, 22 JW Bell.

Photo: Anne Laing/HSM Images