The Golden Lions continued their march towards the Absa Currie Cup title after a dominant 73-31 victory over the Free State Cheetahs at the Free State Stadium on Saturday. The Joburgers ran in ten tries on a day when the Bloemfontein boys simply had no answer. Johan Ackermann’s charges were in front courtesy of a fifth minute Marnitz Boshoff penalty.
From just inside their own half the Lions moved the ball from a ruck on the far side to the near side and Courtnal Skosan did superbly to beat the defence and despite being stopped momentarily, recovered to make his way over the line. Sergeal Petersen hit back for Franco Smith’s side two minutes later when the hosts showed they could also move the ball down the line and the speedy winger showed his pace before he was able to wrestle his way through three defenders before eventually going over and it was 10-5 after Sias Ebersohn’s failed conversion attempt. In the 15th minute Skosan was over for his second of the afternoon in the exact same position although this time the Gauteng union’s move started much closer to the opposition try line.
Nevertheless the ball again moved across the field before the wing finished off the move in the corner. Steph De Wit was put through by Warren Whiteley to score in the 19th minute after the Ellis Park outfit again broke from the far side to beat a brittle Bloemfontein defence. Boshoff would have been grateful to take a conversion from closer to the sticks and duly landed his fourth successful kick from as many attempts to make it 24-5.
After eight minutes without scoring Acerkmann’s men mauled their way over the opposition try line and it was Jaco Kriel who applied the necessary pressure and despite the try being scored in the corner, Boshoff again made no mistake. The try fest continued at the other end of the field when Free State mauled their way over as Vincent Jobo went over in the far corner in the 32nd minute. The half-time score was 31-10.
It took just 60 seconds for Howard Mnisi to score for the Golden Lions in the second half after Boshoff brilliantly broke the line before the centre finished off a contender for try of the season. Jobo was over for his second of the day two minutes later when the Cheetahs won a line out inside the Joburgers’ 22 and drove over from there. Ebersohn finally found success from the kicking tee and it was 38-17 after 45 minutes.
Jobo had his hat-trick four minutes later in almost the exact same fashion, except this time the drive came from a ruck that was formed from the initial line out. Whiteley was next to cross the whitewash in the 57th minute after confirmation from the television match official that the Lions eighthman did not step out of play before grounding the ball in the corner and of course Boshoff was never going to miss the difficult conversion, was he?
Kriel ran straight through the Bloemfontein union’s defence from a lineout some 20 metres out for the next try to bring up the half-century for the Ellis Park outfit seven minutes later. With his first touch after coming on Jaco Van Der Walt sliced through the home defence after dodging several defenders before showing a clean pair of heels to go over under the posts with ten minutes left. With seven minutes left Francois Venter scored a ffith try for the Free Staters when Anthony Volmink erroneously passed to the Cheetahs centre who raced straight through to dot down under the sticks and Fred Zeilinga could not miss to reduce the deficit to 59-31.
There was time for one more try and with two minutes to go the visitors played two phases before Mnisi played a pop pass to Kwagga Smith who ran the two required metres to score under the posts before Boshoff booted his tenth kick from as many attempts. The away side never stopped playing though and Volmink would make up for his earlier error to go over after the hooter on a miserable day for the home team. Ackermann will be pleased with the bonus point victory while Smith will take consolation in at least collecting a bonus point for scoring four tries or more on a day dominated by the team in red jerseys.