MATCH REPORT: A try in the dying seconds of the game secured the Lions a bonus point when Ruan Venter scored his second try, handing them a vital Currie Cup victory of 32-12 over Western Province in Cape Town on Friday.
Defence wins games and this was the golden thread running through the Lions game plan on the day.
While it wasn’t the most exciting match to watch spectator wise, the Lions did the basics right to keep the hosts away from their tryline.
That being said, two sterling tries by Edwill van der Merwe were on display early in the game, the first in the 57th second of the match, which rattled the Capetonians.
It took Western Province all of 20 minutes to string together some phases to finally send over Mnombo Zwelendaba for their first points of the match.
Sanele Nohamba kept the Lions ahead with his accurate kicking at goal through two penalties kicks.
It was only in the 43rd minute of the first half, minutes after the hooter has sounded for halftime, that Western Province fought back through relentless work by the forwards to finally force a penalty try.
The Lions, dominating possession and working as a unit, decided to go for a quick tap after yet another penalty by Western Province. It proved to be fruitful as Ruan Venter got over for his first of two tries.
The successful conversion by Nohamba and a penalty kick stretched the Lions lead to 27-12.
The tackle statistic tells the full story of the Lions with 116 successful tackles made and only 5 missed.
With one minute to play left on the clock, the Lions worked hard to get a bonuspoint try and Venter did not disappoint.
This win moves the Lions up to fifth position on the log and they are still with a shot to make the final four. Two more games are on display on Saturday.
For Western Province:
Tries: Zwelendaba, Penalty try with conversion
For the Lions:
Tries: Van der Merwe 2, Venter 2
Cons: Nohamba 3
Pens: Nohamba 2
Yellow cards: Ruan Dreyer (Lions, 41’ for repeated infringement), Luke Burger (Western Province, 79’ for cynical play)
Western Province: 15 Luke Burger, 14 Mnombo Zwelendaba, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Cornel Smit, 11 Tom Nel, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis (captain), 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Louw Nel, 7 Jarrod Taylor, 6 Junior Pokomela, 5 Connor Evans, 4 Adre Smith, 3 Lee-Marvin Mazibuko, 2 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 1 Kwenzo Blose.
Replacements: 16 Andre-Hugo Venter, 17 Leon Lyons, 18 Corne Weilbach, 19 George van der Westhuizen, 20 Chad Solomon, 21 Thomas Bursey, 22 Jurie Matthee, 23 Lloyd Koster.
Lions: 15 Quan Horn, 14 Boldwin Hansen, 13 Rynhardt Jonker, 12 Marius Louw (captain), 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Gianni Lombard, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Francke Horn, 7 Ruan Venter, 6 Johannes Pretorius, 5 Darien-Lane Landsberg, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Asenathi Nthlabakanye, 2 Pieter Botha, 1 Ruan Dreyer.
Replacements: 16 Morne Brandon, 17 Rhynhardt Runsburger, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Raynard Roets, 20 Ruhan Straeuli, 21 Morne van den Berg, 22 Andries Coetzee, 23 Tyler Bocks
Referee: AM Jacobs
Assistant Referees: Local
TMO: Aimee Barrett-Theron