Lions are champions again
Lions are champions againSHARE
The Golden Lions erased some of the bitter memories of their axing from Super Rugby by claiming a record fifth Vodacom Cup title.
The men from Johannesburg on Friday beat the Pumas 42-28 in Nelspruit to add the 2013 title to their successes in 1999, 2002, 2003 and 2004.
It puts them ahead of Griquas (four) and the Blue Bulls (three) as the most successful team in the Vodacom Cup competition.
The two teams score three tries each, but it was the boot of flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff that proved the difference – as he kicked three conversions, six penalties and a crucial late drop-goal for a personal contribution of 27 points.
Puma flyhalf Carl Bezuidenhout opened the scoring with a third-minute penalty, before a missed drop-goal by Lions counterpart Marnitz Boshoff and a yellow card to Lions lock Hendrik Roodt gave the Pumas a clear advantage.
Stefan Watermeyer made the numerical advantage count with his team's first try and Bezuidenhout added the conversion as the Pumas took a 10-0 lead after just seven minutes.
However, the Lions hit back with a try by Anthony Volmink, converted by Boshoff, who also added a penalty to level the scores up at 10-all after 16 minutes.
Coenie van Wyk put the Pumas back in the lead with a converted try soon afterwards, before Warren Whiteley got a second try for the Lions (converted by Boshoff) to again level the scores.
Boshoff then kicked two penalties, before Bezuidenhout pulled three points back to make it 23-20 to the Lions at the half-time break.
Boshoff gave his team some breathing space with two more penalties, followed by one from Bezuidenhout, before Boshoff made it 32-23 with just 15 minutes remaining on the clock.
Warwick Tecklenburg gave the Lions more breathing spavce with their third try just inside the final 10 minutes, again converted by the ever-reliable Boshoff – 39-23 – before Jerome Pretorius gave the Pumas some hope with his team's third try. A missed conversion attempt by Bezuidenhout made it 28-39.
However, Boshoff put the seal on a deserved win with a well-struck drop-goal a minute from time.
For the Pumas:
Tries: Pretorius, Van Wyk, Watermeyer
Cons: Bezuidenhout 2
Pens: Bezuidenhout 3
Tries: Tecklenburg, Volmink, Whiteley
Cons: Boshoff 3
Pens: Boshoff 6
Yellow card: Hendrik Roodt (Lions, 5 – foul play)
Pumas: 15 Coenie van Wyk, 14 JW Bell, 13 Wilmaure Louw, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Rosco Specman, 10 Carl Bezuidenhout, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Renaldo Bothma, 7 Jaco Bouwer, 6 Corné Steenkamp (captain), 5 Eduan van der Walt, 4 Uzair Cassiem, 3 Ivann Espag, 2 Frankie Herne, 1 Vincent Koch.
Replacements: 16 Jacques Momberg, 17 Corné Fourie, 18 DeJay Terblanche, 19 Marius Coetzer, 20 RW Kember, 21 Jerome Pretorius, 22 Dewald Pretorius.
Golden Lions: 15 Chrysander Botha, 14 Deon Helberg, 13 Deon van Rensburg, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16 Francois du Toit, 17 Van Zyl Botha, 18 JJ Breet, 19 Willie Britz, 20 Ross Cronjé, 21 Lionel Cronjé, 22 Dylan Des Fountain.
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge and Stefan Breytenbach
TMO: Gerrie Coetzee