Lions make a meal of the Cheetahs

2014-10-12 15:00

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Buoyed by their powerful scrum, the Lions took control from the start of this Currie Cup match at Ellis Park to confidently clinch second place on the log and ensure a home semifinal.

Needing just a win to make sure of the important home ground advantage in Saturday’s semifinals, the Lions ran rampant and underscored their gathering reputation as the country’s most attractive side.

As has been the case all year, their scrum was supreme and provided the telling momentum that dispirited the Cheetahs. But there were frequent glimpses of the 15-man approach that has worked so well for Johan Ackermann’s charges.

Playing in the navy blue and white jersey, which was the strip worn by Diggers, Joburg’s original rugby pioneers, to mark the 125th anniversary of the Golden Lions Rugby Union, Warren Whiteley’s men scored six tries that showcased their all-round game – some by way of sharp off-loading and close support, some by way of exuberant individual skills, and others by way of powerful and well-organised forward drives.

Although Marnitz Boshoff, who was switched back to fly half with young Jaco van der Walt going to fullback shortly before the start, experienced an uncharacteristic stutter with his goalkicking mid-game, he found his rhythm to goal seven of his 10 shots at goal.

The Free Staters, but for a brief period after half-time during which they scored their only try, had the look of men who had decided the season was over. Their cause was not helped when new Springbok Teboho Mohojé was yellow-carded in the 21st minute by referee Stuart Berry for illegally ripping the ball free while off his feet in a maul.

If there was disappointment, it was the fact that the Lions’ enterprising play this season has still not enthused Gauteng supporters to turn out in bigger numbers.

With the Bulls unable to overtake the Sharks in third position, the result meant the Lions’ opponents in the semifinal will be the team from KwaZulu-Natal.

.?In Port Elizabeth on Friday night, the EP Kings registered their first win of the season to end any slim hopes the Pumas’ had of reaching the semifinals by edging home 26-25 in their match, which was played at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.

The Kings scored four tries to three, with fullback Scott van Breda’s final touchdown. He ran through to gather a grubber stabbed through by centre Shane Gates and fly half Gary van Aswegan’s touchline conversion clinched a result celebrated by fans and players as though the home side had won a Cup final.

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