Lion cubs stun seasoned Province
The looming storm clouds – which ironically interrupted played through a typical Highveld thunderstorm just before the half-time break – should have been the first sign that the visitors faced doom.
The Cape Town outfit did not heed the warning – dominating the opening half to race into a 10-3 lead and held a 17-10 advantage at the break.
However, once the youngsters from Johannesburg – with half the team still qualified to play age-group rugby – got into their groove, they scored three unanswered second-half tries.
Not only did the result push the Lions back into the top four, with just one round of league action to go, but it saw WP leave Johannesburg without any points to show.
While the Sharks have secured first place on the standings, only two points separate Province in second place (32) and the Lions in fourth (30).
Province will require a victory against the Sharks in Durban next week to secure a semifinal spot.
The visitors opened the scoring at a rainy Ellis Park with an early penalty from flyhalf Robert du Preez and followed that up with the opening try – as Nizaam Carr finished off a flowing movement, which saw decisive touches from Ruhan Nel, EW Viljoen and Huw Jones.
The Golden Lions got on the scoreboard with a penalty of their own and were on level terms shortly afterwards through a well-worked try from Sylvian Mahuza.
Province hit back with a try from Du Preez, who dummied his way through a gap before the teams were forced off the field just before half-time due to a hail storm.
Du Preez kicked another penalty early in the second half, but those were to be the last points of the match for Western Province.
The hosts unleashed a series of determined raids – with three unanswered tries through Aphiwe Dyantyi (57th minute), replacement Robert Kruger (71st minute) and the match-winning score by Springbok centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg (77th minute ) – to secure the come-from-behind victory.
Man of the match: Huw Jones tested the Lions' defence and Robert du Preez dominate the game in the first half. Harold Vorster and Rohan Janse van Rensburg formed a very effective combination, Aphiwe Dyantyi scored a sublime try, Ashlon Davids produced his usual bag of trick and Marco Jansen van Vuren's service was back to the usual high quality we've come to expect of him. Jo Hanko de Villiers showed plenty of promise and Robbie Coetzee made a massive impact off the bench. However, the real magic came from Sevens Springbok Albertus Smith, who wins our award.
For the Golden Lions:
Tries:Mahuza, Dyantyi, Kruger, Van der Walt
Cons: Van der Walt 2, Davids
Pen: Van der Walt
For Western Province:
Tries:Carr, Du Preez
Cons: Du Preez 2
Pens: Du Preez 2
Golden Lions: 15 Jaco van der Walt, 14 Sylvian Mahuza, 13 Harold Vorster, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Ashlon Davids, 9 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 8 Albert Smith, 7 Jo Hanko de Villiers, 6 Len Massyn, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Jacques van Rooyen (captain), 2 Pieter Jansen, 1 Dylan Smith.
Replacements: 22 Jan-Louis la Grange, 21 Bradley Thain, 20 Hacjivah Dayimani, 19 Robert Kruger, 18 Rhyno Herbst, 17 Sithembiso Sithole, 16 Robbie Coetzee.
Western Province: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Seabelo Senatla, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Huw Jones, 11 Ruhan Nel, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Cobus Wiese, 6 Kobus van Dyk, 5 John Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl (captain), 3 Frans van Wyk, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Jacobus Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Caylib Oosthuizen, 18 Jan de Klerk, 19 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 20 Justin Phillips, 21 Werner Kok, 22 Craig Barry.
Referee: AJ Jacobs
Assistant referees: Stephan Geldenhuys, Paul Mente
TMO: Pro Legoete