Golden Lions Roar Away
It was the main match of Day One at the 54th Craven Week, being played at St Stithians in Randburg.
The home team looked stronger, faster and more cohesive than the East Londoners. A crucial part of their speed originated in the connection between forwards and backs, in which scrumhalf Tinus Combrinck played a starring role.
It was a match in which both sides attempted to play constructive rugby. Their first intention was to run with the ball. It was just that the Golden Lions did it better than Border did.
Border scored the first points of the match – the first try of the match and their only try. But it was a delightful try as lanky lock Stephan Nieuwenhuizen, on the Golden Lions 22, sold a dummy, broke, shrugged off two attempted tackles and scored. 5-0 after four minutes.
In a half of five penalties, the Golden Lions scored first with a penalty goal by tall fullback Bonianga Mpeku. 45-3 after 12 minutes.
A long run by wing David Cary on the right presaged what was to come. The next attack came down the left. From a scrum – a facet of play where the Golden Lions had a telling edge – Cary, who was over from the right wing, and fullback Mpeku raced ahead.
The ball came back quickly from a tackle and Combrinck darted over for a try which made the score 8-5 in the favour of the Golden Lions after 18 minutes.
Border came desperately close to taking the lead. From a left-side scrum, a metre inside their own half centre Sibabalwe Xamlashe broke brilliantly on a loop to the right. He was stopped about 10 metres from the Golden Lions goal-line but got the ball inside where David Coetzer picked it up and plunged over the line as flank Mark Snyman grabbed him.
The referee referred the incident to the TMO's advice was that Snyman had held Coetzer up, a big disappointment to Border. They had the five-mere scrum and bashed till the Golden Lions were penalised and Border missed the kick at goal. Border would not have as good a chance in the rest of the match.
The Golden Lions were penalised at a scrum and Border changed kickers to Jason Raubenheimer who goaled from in front. 8-all after 27 minutes.
Border was doing well but then the Golden Lions struck. From a scrum well inside their own half they went blind, No.8 Travis Gordon giving to Combrinck who sent Cary racing down the right wing. Confronted, Cary played inside to centre Yanga Hlalu who scored the first of his tries, and the Golden Lions led 13-8 at the break.
There was nothing to suggest the Highveld flood that was to come.
It started five minutes into the second half when a run by Pieter Jacobs got the attack going. The Golden Lions bashed and then went wide right where Cary scurried away on an arc to score. 18-8.
Hlalu scored the next two tries.
First, the Golden Lions played phases and then left wing Tyler Hayward passed inside the Hlalu who scored. Bonianga converted. 25-8.
The next try came from a tackle. Border won a scrum and eventually, the pass reached Coetzer. Combrinck reached him at the same time and laid the flyhalf low with a strong tackle which released the ball Hlalu snatched it up and ran just over 60 metres down the empty acres to score at the posts. Muzilikazi Manyike converted. 32-8 with 12 minutes to play.
Four minutes later Border knocked on and there was Bonianga Mpeku racing for the line. 37-8 with 8 minutes to play.
It is hard to blame Border for being increasingly dispirited.
The Golden Lions mauled some 20 metres to the Border line where they were held up. From the five-mere scrum, Manyike cut back to set up the attack and lock Stephan le Roux scored. Hayward converted. 44-8
From a handling mess, Geoffrey Ross had a strong run. He gave to Raubenheimer who grubbered. Border was at the line but penalised.
For Golden Lions:
Tries: Tinus Combrinck, Yanga Hlalu 3, David Cary, Bonianga Mpeku, Stephan le Roux
Cons: Bonianga Mpeku, Muzilikazi Manyike, Tyler Hayward
Pen: Bonianga Mpeku
Try: Stephan Nieuwenhuizen
Pen: Jason Raubenheimer
Border: 15 Jason Raubenheimer (Selborne), 14 Sibabalwe Xamlashe (Selborne), 13 Siphamandla Matsinya (Dale), 12 Sinethemba Qeshile (Hudson Park), 11 Jarred du Plessis (Hudson Park), 10 David Coetzer (Selborne), 9 Hlumelo Ndudula (Hudson Park), 8 Adam Mountford (Selborne), 7 André Rust (Selborne), 6 Stephen Fourie (Stirling High), 5 Morné Coetzee (Stirling High), 4 Stephan Nieuwenhuizen (Selborne), 3 Cameron Moodie (Selborne), 2 Mark Venter (Selborne), 1 Cole Haggard (Hudson Park), 16 Kwezi Dlamini (Sterling High), 17 Andile Nondwangu (Cambridge High), 18 Luke Dalbock (Selborne), 19 Junaid Bijal (Queen’s), 20 Geoffrey Ross (Hoërskool Grens), 21 Mitchell Connellan (Selborne), 22 Sibahle Kuhlane (Selborne), 23 Dashaan Mitchley (Dale).
Golden Lions: 15 Bonianga Mpeku (KES), 14 David Cary (Helpmekaar), 13 Muzilikazi Manyike (Jeppe), 12 Yanga Hlalu (KES), 11 Tyler Hayward (KES), 10 Luke Rossouw (Monument), 9 Tinus Combrinck (Monument), 8 Travis Gordon (KES), 7 Pieter Jacobs (Monument), 6 Mark Snyman (Helpmekaar), 5 Stephan le Roux (Monument), 4 Kegan Litchfield (Jeppe), 3 Asenathi Ntlabakanye (St Stithians), 2 Dameon Venter (Helpmekaar), 1 Rudolph Oosthuizen (Florida), 16 Morné Brandon (Monument), 17 Nkosikhona Masuku (Parktown), 18 Keegan Glade (KES), 19 Christen van Niekerk (Monument), 20 Franco Schutte (Monument), 21 Marc Morrison (KES), 22 Santino Pieter Swanepoel (Florida), 23 Leon Mpeku (KES).
Referee: Paul Mente
Assistant referees: Aimee Barrett-Theron, Archie Sehlako
TMO: Lesego Legoete