Lions make Rugby Challenge semis

Johannesburg - The Golden Lions claimed a 43-32 win (half-time 24-17) over the Pumas in their SuperSport Rugby Challenge quarter-final at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg.

A highly entertaining playoff match produced a total of 10 tries, with the victorious Lions running in six of them.

The match started with a flurry of scores, with three tries being registered in the opening stanza.

Nardus van der Walt opened the scoring with a try in the fourth minute, with Kobus Marais adding the extras.

Moments later, Lions scrumhalf, Dillon Smit, crossed the whitewash and the boot of Shaun Reynolds ensured that proceedings were levelled.

The ninth minute provided the third score of the encounter as the Pumas regained the lead through a converted Reynier van Rooyen try.

Kobus Marais added a penalty in the 14th minute to extend the lead to 17-7, before Reynolds did the same in the 22nd minute to close the gap to seven points.

The hosts hit back with an impressive finish to the half, scoring a brace of tries in quick time, with Robert Kruger and Madosh Tambwe scoring close to the hooter.

Reynolds was successful with both conversions and the Lions took the lead 24-17 at half time.

Jarryd Sage extended the Lions lead to 12 points with the first of his two tries shortly after the break.

A Justin van Staden penalty narrowed the gap to 20 points in the 47th minute, before a brilliant Marvin Orrie offload setup Kruger for his second five minutes later. Having missed the Sage conversion, Reynolds was successful with the extras as the Lions led 36-20.

Replacement hooker, Frank Hearne, crossed for two driving maul tries in the 59th and 73rd minutes to set up a tense finish.

Leading by four points, the Lions showed great composure to seal the victory with Sage's second try in the 78th minute. Reynolds was once again on song with the boot to essentially secure the result.

To their credit, the Pumas kept fighting and applied great pressure in the final moments, resulting in a Sti Stihole yellow card. However, the Lions managed to hold out for a 43-32 victory.

A fine performance by the hosts in a highly entertaining fixture. The Lions will now advance to the semifinals playing against the winner of the match between Griquas and the Eastern Province Kings.

Scorers:

Golden Lions: Tries: Dillon Smit, Robert Kruger (2), Madosh Tambwe, Jarryd Sage (2); Cons: Shaun Reynolds(5); Pens: Reynolds

Pumas: Tries: Nardus van der Walt, Reynier van Rooyen, Frank Hearne (2); Cons: Kobus Marais (2), Justin van Staden; Pens: Marais. Van Staden

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