Golden Lions edge Griquas in try-fest
MATCH REPORT: The Golden Lions recorded their first win in Currie Cup 2017 with a 48-43 victory over Griquas at Ellis Park on Saturday.
Both teams started their campaigns with a loss in Round One and were highly motivated to put things right in Johannesburg.
The Lions scored seven tries on their way to victory, while the Griquas were not far behind with six tries of their own.
After sustained pressure in Griquas' 22 in the opening few minutes, it was the Lions who opened the scoring when hooker Peter Jansen went over for a try from a driving maul in the fifth minute. Flyhalf Shaun Reynolds could not convert.
However, it did not take long for Griquas to hit back when scrumhalf Christiaan Meyer stretched out for a try from close range after a maul was set-up deep inside the Lions' 22. George Whitehead converted the try to put his team 7-5 in front after seven minutes.
Five minutes later it was the turn of the Lions again to threaten Griquas' defence and after some good work from scrumhalf Dillion Smit, centre Jacques Nel found himself in space to sprint in for his team's second try. This time Reynolds was able to convert to give his side a five-point lead.
The Lions dominated territory and possession while they were in the lead before Griquas showed how lethal they are out wide at the halfway point in the first half.
From inside his own half, wing Enver Brandt found some space down the touchline before passing on the inside to Tertius Kruger who in turn gave the ball to Meyer who ran for his second try with Whitehead converting.
The see-saw nature of the game then continued when the Lions hit back with a converted try of their own when centre Jarryd Sage eluded a couple of Griquas defenders to go over for the score.
Minutes later the Lions would increase their lead when some more good work from scrumhalf Smit in the Griquas 22 saw wing Aphiwe Dyantyi get the ball in space to cross the whitewash in the corner. Reynolds landed a superb conversion to give his side a 26-14 lead at the 30-minute mark.
Whitehead reduced the deficit with a penalty in the 34th minute before he got his name to the list of try scorers after he intercepted a poor pass in the 37th minute to race away for a try. He converted his own try and Griquas were only two points behind going into the final two minutes of the half.
However, it was the Lions who had the final say of the half when fullback Jaco van der Walt powered over for a try just before the half-time hooter sounded with Reynolds converting for a 33-24 lead.
The opening stages of the second half belonged to the Lions and they were rewarded when Van der Walt gathered a cross-kick from Reynolds before offloading to wing Madosh Tambwe to go over the tryline.
Moments later Tambwe was in again when he burst through some open space in the Griquas defence to sprint away for his second try of the game. Reynolds converted and the Lions had a comfortable 45-24 lead with less than 30 minutes left.
Griquas took their time finding their feet in the second half, but they did take their opportunity in the 56th minute when replacement Ederies Arendse scored a try after sustained pressure in the Lions' 22.
Five minutes later the side from Kimberley were back in the game when wing Brandt intercepted a ball in his own half to run in for a score, which Whitehead converted. With just under 20 minutes left, Griquas were only nine points behind their hosts.
The next 15 minutes was a bit of an arm-wrestle before Griquas ensured an exciting finish when replacement Renier Botha got a five-pointer with Whitehead adding the extra two points with the boot with four minutes left on the clock.
However, it was the Lions who would have the final say when Reynolds slotted a penalty right at the end to put the game to bed.
Man of the match: Madosh Tambwe and George Whitehead both scored two tries in a highly entertaining game. However, the award goes to Lions scrumhalf Dillon Smit for his cool performance from the base of the ruck and his role in a couple of his team's tries as well.
For Golden Lions:
Tries: Jansen, Nel, Sage, Dyanti, Van der Walt, Tambwe 2,
Cons: Reynolds 5
Tries: Meyer 2, Whitehead, Arendse, Brandt, Botha
Cons: Whitehead 5
Golden Lions: 15 Jaco van der Walt, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Jacques Nel, 12 Jarryd Sage, 11 Aphiwe Dyanti, 10 Shaun Reynolds, 9 Dillon Smit, 8 Ryan Kankowski (captain), 7 Robert Kruger, 6 James Venter, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Rhyno Herbst, 3 Justin Ackerman, 2 Pieter Jansen, 1 Sithembiso Sithole.
Replacements: 16 Mike Willemse, 17 Andrew Beerwinkel, 18 Bobby de Wee, 19 Hacjivah Dayimani, 20 Bradley Thain, 21 Fabian Booysen, 22 Nicolaas Hanekom.
Griquas: 15 Eric Zana, 14 Adriaan Coertzen (captain), 13 Tertius Kruger, 12 Clinton Swart, 11 Enver Brandt, 10 George Whitehead, 9 Christiaan Meyer, 8 Jonathan Janse van Rensburg, 7 Sias Koen, 6 Wendal Wehr, 5 Pieter Janse van Vuren, 4 Floris Pelser, 3 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 2 Marius Fourie, 1 Liam Hendricks.
Replacements: 16 Abraham Le Roux, 17 Devon Martinus, 18 Mzwanele Zito, 19 RJ Liebenberg, 20 Renier Botha, 21 Ederies Arendse, 22 Jonathan Francke.
Referee: Cwengile Jadezweni
Assistant referees: Jaco Pretorius, Vusi Msibi
TMO: Marius Jonker with Lesego Legoete