Lions clinch home final against Sharks

2011-10-24 00:00

IT went, in the end, according to the script, and teams number one (Golden Lions) and two (Sharks) on the Currie Cup log will contest Saturday’s final at Ellis Park, Johannesburg.

The Lions, with hardly a Springbok in sight, held off a big-name Western Province outfit 29-20 in the last semi-final in Johannesburg on Saturday, while the Sharks and their supporters were given the nastiest of frights, fighting back after trailing 0-13 to beat the brave Free Staters 20-13 on a sweltering afternoon in Durban.

Cheetahs coach Naka Drotské said the emphasis had probably been “too much on defence than attack … We made too many basic errors, but our attack was probably the poorest of the season.”

Plumtree said the many mistakes in the first half, the missed penalties, the injuries to Michalak and Terblanche and the individuality of players had prevented the Sharks gaining any momentum and had led to “huge frustration”.

“When we tidied up our game in the second half, we got reward,” he added.

Province were hoping that their backline, crowded with Springboks, and flank Schalk Burger would bring down the Lions at Ellis Park.

But the Lions, stronger in body and mind than they were a week ago when they lost by 50 points to the Sharks in Durban, produced an effective and controlled performance and their strong defence denied the WP runners.

While Province captain Burger did everything possible to turn the tide, his forwards couldn’t match his efforts.

Flyhalf Elton Jantjies continued to impress for the Lions, fullback Jaco Taute again underlined his talent and loose forwards, former Shark Michael Rhodes and captain Joshua Strauss, helped keep the Lions on the frontfoot.

Lions coach John Mitchell praised his players “for a good performance”.

“It was important to have urgency and attitude. Our tactics worked well for us and that’s what the game’s about. Next week’s contest [against the Sharks] will be different. It’s just a matter of enjoying tonight. I’m patching up the guys at the moment and getting them ready for next week’s contest.”

Burger conceded his team had lost to the better team on the night.

“It wasn’t our night. Credit to the Lions; they put us under pressure and we made too many errors. There has been a lot of improvement in this Lions team. Good luck to them in the final.”

 

SCORES AND SCORERS

Sharks 20 : Tries - Tendai Mtawarira, Odwa Ndungane. Conversions: Patrick Lambie (2). Penalty - Patrick Lambie (2).

Cheetahs 13: Try - Hennie Daniller. Conversion - Johan Goosen. Penalties - Johan Goosen (2).

Lions 29: Tries - Jaco Taute, Michael Killian. Conversions - Elton Jantjies (2). Penalties - Jantjies (5). Western Province 20: Try - Juan De Jongh. Penalties - Demetri Catrakilis (5)

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