The Golden Lions scored five tries in their 35-33 hammering of WP in Johannesburg on Saturday. JON CARDINELLI reports.
The Lions looked to play this match at breakneck speed, and their ability to offload successfully in the tackle enhanced this game plan. While the first half was closely contested, the Lions came into their own in the second, putting pay to some tired Province defence.
Kurt Coleman's accurate goal-kicking kept WP in the game initially. Indeed, after 52 minutes, WP looked to be in control, and held a lead of 19-14.
But the Lions then scored 14 points in the space of 14 minutes to seize the initiative. It was during this period where their superior fitness and skills were apparent, with forwards handling like backs and running terrific supporting lines.
Hooker Armand van der Merwe scored in the 54th minute, sprinting down the right-hand touchline and then powering through WP's cover defence. Van der Merwe was again involved in the subsequent try, throwing a beautiful over-the-head pass to the eventual try-scorer, Jaco Kriel.
Both tries were converted by winger Ruan Combrinck. The second kick was important, as it extended the Lions' lead to nine points.
The Lions then added a fifth try through Franco Mostert. This put the result beyond doubt, and WP's two late scores by Justin Geduld and Michael Rhodes only lent some respectability to the scoreline.
The result sees the Lions closing the gap between themselves and first-placed WP on the Currie Cup log. It also marks the first defeat for Province in this year's domestic competition.
Golden Lions – Tries: Schalk van der Merwe, Lionel Mapoe, Armand van der Merwe, Jaco Kriel, Franco Mostert. Conversions: Ruan Combrinck (5).
WP – Tries: Juan de Jongh, Justin Geduld, Michael Rhodes. Conversions: Kurt Coleman, Demetri Catrakilis (2). Penalties: Coleman (4).
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 MB Lusaseni, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Armand van der Merwe, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Subs: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Martin Muller, 19 Warwick Tecklenburg, 20 Mark Richards, 22 Howard Mnisi.
WP – 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh (c), 12 Jaco Taute, 11 Pat Howard, 10 Kurt Coleman, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Stephan Coetzee, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Subs: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Manuel Carizza, 19 Sikhumbuza Notshe, 20 Godlen Masimla, 21 Demetri Catrakilis, 22 Justin Geduld.
Photo: Anne Laing/HSM Images