Despite having four tries disallowed the Golden Lions scored another five to storm into the Currie Cup semifinals, knocking out defending champions the Cheetahs 44-17 at Ellis Park on Saturday night.
Leading 13-10 at the break, the Lions went into overdrive and was it not for all the small errors, the score could have turned real ugly for the badly outplayed visitors.
They will now face Western Province in the one of next weeks’s playoff matches, who surprised the Sharks by winning 31-20 in Durban and thereby securing a home game in Cape Town.
In the other semifinal the Sharks – who finished on top of the log by some distance – will host the Blue Bulls.
Who was the star in this match?
Flyhalf Jaco van der Walt, who added 17 points, excelled after being moved back to the pivot position after he played fullback for the majority of the competition. He was on song with his place kicking and was probably unlucky to have a try disallowed when Lions replacement hooker Malcolm Marx was ruled to have juggled the ball forward in mid-air touching a fellow player.
Key Moments of the Game
- Courtesy of some good work from the kickoff, the Lions maintained early pressure to take their first penalty for touch which resulted in the opening try by Bok left-wing Courtnall Skosan after just three minutes. Skosan thought he had scored his second in the 25thminute but was called back for a double movement.
- With the Lions leading 13-3, the Cheetahs scored their first try through an intercept by leftwing Makazole Mapimpi five minutes before the interval when Lions centre Harold Vorster telegraphed a pass. It was superbly ready by the Cheetahs flyer as the Free Staters were rewarded for dominating the last 20 minutes of the half.
- The Lions surprisingly dominated both territory and possession, especially against a side to battle ready after a few good weeks in the Pro14. The Cheetahs only just hung on in the first half and even gained some momentum later on but when the Lions scored their second try six minutes after the break through the hard-working flanker Cyle Brink, the gap was too big.
- The Lions’ scrum was one of their big weapons but their wayward line-outs were disappointing, especially after they were brilliant in that set-piece last week. That can’t be repeated next week at Newlands.
Golden Lions – Tries: Courtnall Skosan (2), Cyle Brink, Kwagga Smith, Robert Kruger. Conversions: Jaco van der Walt (4), Andries Coetzee. Penalties: Van der Walt (3).
Free State Cheetahs – Tries: Makazole Mapimpi, Paul Schoeman. Conversions: Ernst Stapelberg (2). Penalty: Stapelberg.