Lions put down big marker
REPORT: The Golden Lions put down a big marker at the start of the Currie Cup season, when they smashed the Blue Bulls 41-13 at Ellis Park on Saturday.
The Golden Lions put down a big marker at the start of the Currie Cup season, when they smashed the Blue Bulls 41-13 at Ellis Park on Saturday.
Don't you love watching the Golden Lions?
Everything in the way they play is delightful. They have vision and adventure and no fear of running whenever there is a chance regardless of where they are on the field.
And it seems that their confidence is based on the competence of doing individual and unit skills so well.
They catch and pass well, they support well, they scrum well, they tackle well, they line-out well, the contest the breakdowns well and they kick well.
They do rugby well and in the most delightful way.
They came out onto Ellis Park in their colours of 125 years ago as part of their Union's 125 celebration. They had dark blue jerseys with a broad white band, plus adornments they did not have 125 years ago - the golden lion and sundry advertisements. Their colours then became the Diggers colours when the club was founded in 1894.
The Blue Bulls wore their usual sky blue, and there was no colour clash in the match.
It was a gloomy day in Johannesburg, even rainy, and a small crowd compared to what happened in days gone by at the trans-Jukskei Derby. Gloomy day and small crowd did not affect the game which was lively and thoroughly enjoyable.
Marnitz Boshoff kicked off and the Blue Bulls got into Golden Lions territory. The first tackle produced the first penalty, but Jacques-Louis Potgieter missed as he did twice more in the match.
Potgieter kicked high over his forwards and Ruan Combrinck caught the ball and gave it to Warren Whitely who gave to Nicolaas Hanekom who beat three opponents with a dummy and a swerve or two and raced 46 metres to score a try that delighted lots of people. Boshoff converted. 7-0 after four minutes.
At a line-out after a penalty the Blue Bulls mauled and the Golden Lions were penalised. This time Potgieter goaled. 7-3 after seven minutes.
The first scrum of the match was interesting as the Golden Lions pushed the Blue Bulls back. Their scrum disintegrated, Deon Stegmann unbound and the Blue Bulls were penalised. 10-3 after 12 minutes. At no stage after this did the Blue Bulls get in closer contention than this. The Golden Lions simply kept pulling away.
The referee was playing advantage when Boshoff kicked a wobbly drop goal. 13-3 after 19 minutes. After a burst by Derick Minnie, Whitely lost the ball at the line, but soon afterwards Jürgen Visser was penalised for a deliberant knock-on. 16-3 after 32 minutes.
From the kick-off after this penalty goal,. Lionel Mapoe burst brilliantly from deep in his own 22 to the Blue Bulls 10-metre line but the Blue Bulls got the ball and went through many phases. They were going right when Ruan Combrinck intercepted the pass with a juggle and went off through 70 empty metres, dawdling along when it was obvious that there were no chasers till he sank slowly down to ground the ball under the posts. 23-3.
The Blue Bulls did some more phases but the half-time score was 23-3.
At the start of the second half, following Potgieter's deep kick-off, Guy Cronjé lobbed a kick over his forwards. Visser, by far the most elusive runner the Blue Bulls had, in fact the only one, counterattacked. The Blue Bulls went left and Sampie Mastriet surfed over in the left corner. Potgieter converted from touch. 23-10 after 41 minutes.
A penalty gave the Blue Bulls a maul and Minnie was penalised for an unlawful entry. 23-13 after 47 minutes?
Were the Blue Bulls getting together to take over the match?
The answer was soon evident.
The Golden Lions lost Boshoff in an attempted tackle. He injured his arm and was taken to hospital. Jaco van der Walt took his place and kicked a penalty when the Blue Bulls were penalised at a scrum for the third time in the match. 26-13 and then 29-13 when Jono Ross was penalised at a tackle.
There were 20 minutes to play and the Golden Lions seemed keener on getting two more tries than the Blue Bulls were on scoring anything.
From a turnover off Jacques Engelbrecht the Golden Lions went through phases with straight running and close support till Jaco Kriel was free to run round under the posts for the try. 36-13 with 15 minutes to play.
From the kick-off the Golden Lions again attacked with Kriel making the running.
In the end bit, there were two uncontested scrums as the Golden Lions ran out of props, Ross went for a concussion test though he protested his good health and the Golden Lions kicked out a penalty for a line-out seven metres out. They mauled cleverly and raced at the line with Willie Britz in the van. Warwick Tecklenburg was credited with the try that was the bonus point.
The final whistle went.
Man of the Match: The nearest the Blue Bulls come to a candidate is Jürgen Visser but there are several Golden Lions candidates - starting at fullback Andries Coetzee and including both wings, Stokkies Hanekom, Marnitz Boshoff, above all for his vision, and the three loose forwards. But our choice, which surprises us as well, is Ross Cronje. This may be far and away the best he has played for the Lions, Golden or otherwise. He was brave and decisive and his judgment was good. He attacked well and defended brilliantly.
For the Golden Lions:
Tries: Hanekom, Combrinck, Kriel, Tecklenburg
Cons: Boshoff 2, Van der Walt
Pens: Boshoff 2, Van der Walt 2
For the Blue Bulls:
Pens: Potgieter 2
Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Lionel Mapoe, 13 Nicolaas Hanekom, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Ruan Combrinck, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Ross Cronjé, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Luvuyiso Lusaseni, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Willie Britz, 19 Warwick Tecklenburg, 20 Ricky Schroeder, 21 Jaco van der Walt, 22 Howard Mnisi.
Blue Bulls: 15 Jurgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Sampie Mastriet, 10 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Jono Ross, 6 Deon Stegmann (captain), 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Paul Willemse, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling.
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Marcel van der Merwe, 18 Nicolaas Janse van Rensburg, 19 Wiaan Liebenberg, 20 Rudy Paige, 21 Tony Jantjies, 22 Jesse Kriel.
Referee: Jaco van Heerden
Assistant referees: Stuart Berry, Ben Crouse
TMO: Johan Greeff