The Golden Lions defeated the Eastern Province Kings 37-21 in Saturday’s Absa Currie Cup action in Johannesburg to maintain their unbeaten streak. The Kings threatened to come back after a good start to the game by the Lions but were dealt a final blow when Jaco van Der Walt kicked a 70th minute penalty to wrap up the win for Johan Ackermann’s men. While the Kings have been dealing with off-field issues over the lack of payment of their players, the Lions came into this week’s game with a perfect record.
The hosts started the game in predatorial fashion as they set up a driving maul after Van Der Walt found touch five metres from the Kings’ try-line. After being overpowered, the Kings opted to collapse the maul, resulting in a penalty try for Ackerman’s team. Five minutes later Kwagga Smith dove over the line after Malcom Marx spotted the gap and two minutes later Stokkies Hanekom charged down a Karlo Aspeling kick to dot down the Lions’ third try of the match.
In the 15th minute the Kings finally replied, swinging the ball out wide to Siyanda Grey who ran over the line to finish off a brilliant try. Karlo Aspeling found touch eigh minutes later to set up a driving maul five metres from the Lions’ try-line and Paul Schoeman drove over the line for the men from the Eastern Cape. With 10 minutes remaining in the first stanza, Howard Mnisi broke through the Kings’ line of defence before offloading to Stephan De Wit who went over in the right hand corner.
The Kings were on the attack as the first half came to a close bashing forward but could not break the Lions defence. In the final minute of the half the visitors were penalised for not releasing the ball and were made to pay the price by Van Der Walt who put the Lions ahead 27-14. In the 55th minute the Kings bashed forward to drive over for their third try and Paul Schoeman’s second of the game.
In the 67th minute the home side came close to scoring again but Ruan Combrink spilled the ball in what should have been a sure try. With 10 minutes of the game remaining the Lions managed to put their first points of the half on the board after the Kings were penalised for collapsing the maul. The Kings continued to attack from deep, putting pressure on the Lions but the game would end 30-21 in favour of the home team.
The Lions hold on to their perfect start and travel to Loftus Versveld next where they take on the Blue Bulls who are the only other side with a perfect record in the Currie Cup this season.
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Stokkies Hanekom, 12 Howard Mnisi (c), 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Jaco Van Der Walt, 9 Lohan Jacobs, 8 Fabian Booysen, 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Stephan De Wit, 5 Martin Muller, 4 MB Lusaseni, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques Van Rooyen. Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Lourens Erasmus, 19 Jano Venter, 20 Ricky Schroeder, 21 Marnitz Boshoff, 22 Jacques Nel.
15 Hansie Graaff, 14 Siyanda Grey, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Tim Whitehead (c), 11 Sylvian Mahuza, 10 Karlo Aspeling, 9 Dwayne Kelly, 8 Paul Schoeman, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Thembelani Bholi, 5 Cameron Lindsay, 4 Tazz Fuzani, 3 Simon Kerrod, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 Lizo Gqoboka. Replacements: 16 Michael Van Vuuren, 17 Basil Short, 18 Cornell Hess, 19 Eital Bredenkamp, 20 Enrico Acker, 21 Elgar Watts, 22 JP Du Plessis.