Griquas keep their cool
Griquas keep their coolSHARE
Griquas showed great character to secure a season double over the Golden Lions with a 37-21 victory in a sweltering Kimberley on Saturday.
The crucial bonus-point victory sees Griquas move off the bottom of the Currie Cup log, while the Lions will be left frustrated at not even being able to take a single log point from a game that they led for a long period.
The visitors had taken a slender lead into the half-time break, but a spirited second-half performance from Griquas saw them pull away in the second half as the heat took its toll on the Lions.
The Lions soaked up some early pressure after losing two of their own line-outs and opened the scoring with a penalty from Butch James after Griquas had strayed offside.
The home side were determined to take the game to the defending champions and put together some impressive passing movements, but the Lions scrambled well on defence and responded by scoring two quick tries to take control of the game.
A clever chip kick into the corner from James gave the Johannesburg side a great attacking platform and it was flank Cobus Grobbelaar who crashed over from the powerful driving maul.
The visitors followed that up almost immediately with another try as lock Michael Rhodes finished off a purposeful surge by accepting a neat inside ball from swift No.8 Warren Whiteley to stretch their lead to 15-0.
Griquas needed to hit back if they were to stay in the game and they stormed into the Lions' 22 where the ball was worked out to Lourens Adriaanse, and the powerful tighthead prop got over the line for a try that was confirmed by the TMO.
With the momentum in their favour just ahead of half-time Griquas continued to apply the pressure and when experienced centre JP Nel grabbed an overthrown line-out and burst into the 22 the Lions found themselves defending on their tryline again.
A powerful scrum from the Griquas front row gave No.8 Leon Karemaker a golden opportunity, and he made no mistake, forcing his way over from the base of the scrum to narrow the gap, but a penalty from James on the stroke of half-time saw the Lions take a 18-14 lead into the break.
With their play-off hopes effectively on the line Griquas made a determined start to the second half, but the extreme heat was clearly taking its toll on both sides as more basic errors crept into the game.
The home side's desperation paid off as flyhalf Francois Brummer slotted two early penalties to give them the lead for the first time in the match as the Lions were punished for some poor discipline.
The Lions needed to respond and they made their way into the opposition 22, but they were left disappointed when a crucial turnover saw Griquas wing Rocco Jansen go over in the corner for a great counter-attacking try that put his team 27-18 ahead with less than 20 minutes to play.
The Lions got themselves within striking distance when James knocked over another penalty after Marnus Schoeman had gone off his feet at the ruck, which set up a tense conclusion.
The visitors gave it everything as they tried to snatch a dramatic victory, but Griquas held on well and a late runaway try from Jansen sealed the crucial bonus point with seconds left on the clock.
Man of the match: Griquas No.8 Leon Karemaker enjoyed the solid platform his tight five laid and showed why he was such a highly rated prospect early in his career.
Tries: Adriaanse, Karemaker, Jansen 2
Cons: Brummer 4
Pens: Brummer 3
For Golden Lions:
Tries: Grobbelaar, Rhodes
Pens: James 3
Griquas: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Jannie Boshoff, 13 Jean Stemmet, 12 JP Nel, 11 Rocco Jansen, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Marnus Hugo, 8 Leon Karemaker, 7 Justin Downey, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Martin Muller, 4 Rynhardt Landman, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Ryno Barnes (captain), 1 Steph Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Matt Dobson, 17 Ivann Espag, 18 Edwin Hewitt, 19 Jaco Nepgen, 20 Jacques Coetzee, 21 Marnitz Boshoff, 22 Walter Venter.
Golden Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Deon Helberg, 13 Deon Van Rensburg, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Ruan Combrinck, 10 Butch James, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Jaco Kriel, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 Franco Van der Merwe, 4 Michael Rhodes, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 JC Janse Van Rensburg (captain).
Replacements: 16 Callie Visagie, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Willie Britz, 19 Derick Minnie, 20 Guy Cronje, 21 Dylan Des Fountain, 22 James Kamana.
Referee: Mark Lawrence
Assistants: Marius van der Westhuizen, Francois de Bruin
TMO: Deon van Blommenstein