Lions sneak past Free State
Lions sneak past Free StateSHARE
The Golden Lions snatched a tense 20-19 Craven Week win against Free State with the last kick of the last match on Day Four in Polokwane.
Fullback Erwin Harris held his nerve to slot a last-minute penalty which saw the Lions edge their Free State rivals in a hard-fought encounter to bring the action to a close on Thursday.
The Gauteng side had taken a slim 11-9 lead into the half-time break, but Free State rallied well in the second half and will be gutted at letting the game slip through their grasp.
The Golden Lions opened the scoring when inside centre Gerdus van der Walt slotted a penalty from the halfway line, but Free State responded straight away with a penalty of their own from outside centre Stephen Rautenbach.
The Lions were making the running, and kept the ball in hand through a number of phases before it was swung out to outside centre Fernando Kermis who ran in a great team try.
Free State hit back when Rautenbach kicked his second penalty, but the Lions maintained their five-point advantage as Harris kicked a penalty of his own to make it 11-6.
Another Rautenback penalty narrowed the gap to 11-9 at half-time, and it was anyone's game in the second half.
The Lions made a strong start to the second half with flyhalf Sibongumusa Radebe coming within inches of scoring, and they had to be content with three points as Harris eventually kicked another penalty.
However, ten quick points from Free State saw them take the lead for the first time in the match as a fourth Rautenback penalty was followed up by a try to hooker Andrew du Plessis in the right-hand corner.
Another Harris penalty narrowed the gap to 19-17 with minutes left to play as the match went right down to the wire, and the fullback stepped up one more time to deliver the final blow much to the delight of his teammates.
For Free State:
Try: Du Plessis
Pens: Rautenbach 4
For the Golden Lions:
Pens: Van der Walt, Harris 4
Free State: 15 EW Viljoen, 14 Henry Immelman, 13 Stephen Rautenbach, 12 Aliqhayiya Mgijima, 11 Sheldon Fortuin, 10 Julian Delicado, 9 Shirwin Cupido, 8 Andries Kriek, 7 Marius Louw, 6 Wahseem Gallant, 5 Casper Fourie, 4 de Wet Bezuidenhout, 3 Cornelius Kramer, 2 Andrew du Plessis, 1 Ruben Terblanche.
Replacements: 16 Paul Wipplinger, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Refuoe Rampeta, 19 Thamaha Maruping, 20 Heinrich Sander, 21 Masego Toolo, 22 Dale Koopman.
Golden Lions: 15 Erwin Harris, 14 S'busiso Nkosi, 13 Fernando Kermis, 12 Gerdus van der Walt, 11 Jshegofatso Ramaboea, 10 Sibongumusa Radebe, 9 Brandan Rieck, 8 Wiehan Jacobs, 7 Dylan Vlok, 6 Dwayne Pienaar, 5 Nyasha Tarusenga, 4 Rhyno Herbst, 3 Roan Grobbelaar, 2 Emmanuel Morowane, 1 Cornelius Greeff.
Replacements: 16 Joseph Dweba, 17 Andrew Acton, 18 Gunther Janse van Vuuren, 19 Devon Henson, 20 Johan Esterhuizen, 21 Erick Fourie, 22 Sbusiso Dlamini.