Heavier Lions down KZN

2012-07-12 00:00

THE third day of Craven Week took place yesterday as the sides that played on day one had their second matches. It was a disappointing game for KZN as the Golden Lions used their superior weight to starve KZN of the ball for long periods and eventually run out 17-8 winners.

The writing was on the wall early in the game as the pressure was exerted by the heavier Lions, who dominated set pieces, particularly the lineouts. When KZN did win good ball they looked dangerous, but the driving of the Lions forwards almost always got across the gain line and kept them on the front foot.

The Lions opened the scoring when flyhalf Jaco van der Walt (Monument) slotted a penalty. Robbie Anderson (Michaelhouse) replied a few minutes later, but KZN were playing into a swirling wind that made kicking difficult. Both Van der Walt and Anderson then missed penalties, but when the Lions got into the KZN 22-metre area they were dangerous.

From a ruck close to the line the ball came out to hooker Malcolm Marx (KES) and he barged through to score halfway through the first period. It was a relatively easy conversion by Van der Walt to make it 10-3.

Some neat touches were shown by KZN players, but they did not have the silky running and handling shown in the first game as the pressure by the Lions seldom gave them the freedom to run.

A brilliant individual try by Jesse Kriel (M College) narrowed the gap to 10-8 as the conversion was missed. The Lions were attacking and lost a ball which was picked up by Kriel just outside the 22 metre line. He ran down the touchline, and when blocked by the defence, kicked the ball over the defenders, plucked the ball from the hands of the Lions cover defence after it bounced and dived over for the try.

With KZN winning more ball in the second half, they had further opportunities, but the final move was spoilt. With the Lions kicking well out of hand they were pushed back. The line­outs went against them, they lost eight of their own balls and this kept them under pressure. A second forward try was scored under the posts, this time by prop Clinton Theron (Florida) when he barged through some attempted tackles. The extra points were an easy kick for Van der Walt to give them a 17-8 lead.

Despite some desperate further attempts KZN could not score and the Golden Lions opened the way for a possible final game on Saturday.

The main game this afternoon is between the Blue Bulls and Pumas, with the main curtain raiser between SWD and Western Province. Tomorrow is a rest day and then all 20 sides will play on Saturday.

Other results: Namibia 29 Griquas 15; Falcons 38 Leopards 5; Free State 14 Border 9; E Province 22 Boland 13.

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