Swanepoel stars as Lions edge Pumas
CURRIE CUP REPORT: The Lions recorded a valuable 33-25 win over the Pumas in their Currie Cup Round Six match in Nelspruit on Saturday.
The four points for the win moved the Lions to within two points of the first-placed Bulls ahead of their rearranged Round Five fixture in Pretoria on Wednesday.
Lions fullback Tiaan Swanepoel was the star of the show for the Lions with his performance with ball hand. The No.15 scored two of his team’s three tries and he also contributed 12 points with the boot.
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The Pumas scored two tries to one by the Johannesburgers in the first half to enter the break 17-13 ahead, but roles were reversed in the second half as the home team conceded two tries and scored one.
But the costly penalties they conceded, which Swanepoel slotted over with ease, did not assist the Lowvelders’ cause, and this paved the way for the Lions to snatch a win in the end.
Pumas No.8 Willie Engelbrecht scored the first points of the match in the second minute after gathering a smart offload from a ruck and dashing through a hole in the defence, and the successful conversion by Ginter Smuts (scrumhalf) saw them take a 7-0 lead.
This was cancelled out by the visitors two minutes later as Jaco Visagie (hooker) crashed over, with Lions captain and flyhalf Elton Jantjies levelling the scores with the conversion.
Swanepoel nudged the visitors into a 13-7 lead with back-to-back penalty goals from far out.
But this was short-lived as a penalty goal by Smuts and subsequent try by Pumas’ Simon Westraadt (hooker) in the 37th minute after some hard work by the forwards in a rolling maul, saw the home side enter the break in a 17-13 lead.
The visitors made their presence felt early in the second half thanks to their effective attack and it paid off with Swanepoel scoring a brace of tries in the second quarter, allowing them to reclaim the lead.
Smuts added his second penalty goal in the 58th minute to reduce their deficit to seven points, but this was cancelled out by Swanepoel’s third three-pointer in the 64th minute.
The Pumas struck back with intent in the 66th minute with Erich Cronje (centre) gathering the ball from a stunning grubber kick into space to touch down, which placed them within range of winning the match.
Swanepoel, however, dashed their hopes of an upset with less than two minutes to play as he struck over his fourth penalty goal, which saw them seal a 33-25 victory.
Man of the match: Lions fullback Tiaan Swanepoel was a constant threat with ball in hand. He also scored 22 of his team’s 33 points with two tries and four penalties.
Tries: Engelbrecht, Westraadt, Cronje
Cons: Smuts 2
Pen: Smuts 2
Tries: Visagie, Swanepoel 2
Cons: Jantjies 3
Pens: Swanepoel 4
Pumas: 15 Tapiwa Mafura, 14 Luther Obi, 13 Erich Cronje, 12 Ali Mgijima, 11 Etienne Taljaard, 10 Devon Williams, 9 Ginter Smuts, 8 Willie Engelbrecht, 7 Phumzile Maqondwana, 6 Daniel Maartens, 5 Pieter Jansen van Vuren (captain), 4 Darrien Landsberg, 3 Ignatius Prinsloo, 2 Simon Westraadt, 1 Morgan Naude.
Replacements: 16 AJ le Roux, 17 Eduan Swart, 18 Brandon Valentyn, 19 Francois Kleinhans, 20 Chriswill September, 21 Tiaan Botes, 22 Alwayno Visagie, 23 Wayne van der Bank.
Lions: 15 Tiaan Swanepoel, 14 Stean Pienaar, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Cournall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies (captain), 9 André Warner, 8 Len Massyn, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Willem Alberts, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Dylan Smith.
Replacements: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Reinhard Nothnagel, 20 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 21 Morné van den Berg, 22 Manuel Rass, 23 Marnus Schoeman.
Referee: AJ Jacobs
Assistant Referees: Paul Mente, Morne Ferreira
TMO: Johan Greeff
Additional source: SA Rugby