Lions hold off Province in thriller
CURRIE CUP REPORT: The Lions have held off the fast-finishing Western Province for a 38-32 win at Ellis Park on Wednesday.
Western Province threw everything at the Lions in the last quarter of the match.
However, a knock-on stopped their attempt for a match-winning try minutes after the full-time siren.
*As it happened: Lions v Western Province
It is the Lions’ first Currie Cup victory of the season, after their humiliating defeat to the Pumas last weekend.
Having trailed 10-38 heading into the final 20 minutes, Western Province scored three unanswered tries at the death and almost pulled off an incredible comeback win.
However, it was not to be as the Lions held on for the win.
The home side scored two early tries as they converted their territorial pressure.
Flank Sibusiso Sangweni peeled off a maul to score the first and wing Sibahle Mawane picked up a bounce-pass to go over for the second.
Western Province regrouped well and worked themselves into a position to strike. After a strong maul, the forwards bashed away at the tryline and No.8 Juarno Augustus powered over for the try.
Pieter Botha scored Lions’ third try from a maul and Western Province responded with a penalty from Tim Swiel to make it 17-10.
However, the home side had the final say in the first half as another maul try saw them take a 24-10 lead into half-time against a Western Province side that was down to 14 men after Evan Roos had been shown a yellow card.
The tries kept coming for the Lions early in the second half as they made their extra man count. First hooker Pieter Botha forced his way over for his second of the match, followed by Maxwane, who grabbed an intercept to make it 38-10.
Western Province refused to give in and finally got some reward as the Lions saw two forwards shown yellow cards.
The second yellow card saw a penalty try awarded and Western Province scored from the restart, with Paul de Wet scoring in the corner to put them right back in it.
They continued to push and replacement Cornel Smit finished in the corner to secure the first bonus point before a Swiel penalty brought them within seven points.
They pushed hard for the win at the end, but the Lions held out to claim a tense victory in the end.
Man of the match: Western Province Evan Roos could have easily bagged the accolade. Roos was the force behind his team’s fightback. Fred Zeilinger of the Lions is another player who deserves a mention. The flyhalf dictated the game very well, his grubbers and chip-kicks always find the mark and he kept Province on the backfoot. However, our nod goes to Lions wing Sibahle Maxwane, who made some lethal runs and proved to be a menace to the Province defence.
Tries: Sangweni, Maxwane 2, Botha 2, Schoeman
Cons: Zeilinger 4
For Western Province:
Tries: Augustus, Penalty try, De Wet, Smith
Cons: Swiel 2
Pens: Swiel 2
Yellow cards: Evan Roos (Western Province, 38 – Collapsing the maul), Jaco Visagie (Lions, 68 – Offside), Ruben Schoeman (Lions, 69 – collapsing the maul)
Lions: 15 EW Viljoen, 14 Jamba Ulengo, 13 Manuel Rass, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Sibahle Maxwane, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Dillon Smit, 8 Francke Horn (captain), 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Sibusiso Sangweni, 5 Reinhard Nothnagel, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Pieter Botha, 1 Nathan McBeth.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Banele Mthenjane, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Ruhan Straeuli, 20 Emmanuel Tshituka, 21 Morne van den Berg, 22 Aidynn Cupido, 23 Duncan Matthews.
Western Province: 15 Tim Swiel, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Rikus Pretorius, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Abner van Reenen, 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Evan Roos, 6 Marcel Theunissen, 5 David Meihuizen, 4 Ernst van Rhyn (captain), 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 JJ Kotze, 1 Ali Vermaak.
Replacements – from: 16 Jason Alexander, 17 Leon Lyons, 18 Sazi Sandi, 19 Justin Basson, 20 De Wet Marais, 21 Johan du Toit, 22 Paul de Wet, 23 Cornel Smit, 24 Lee-Marvin Mazibuko, 25 Hacjivah Dayimani, 26 Niel Otto.
Referee: AJ Jacobs
Assistant Referees: Local
TMO: Stuart Berry
Picture credit: @LionsRugbyCo