Lions too good for Sharks
August 27, 2011
Riaan Viljoen's try helped the Griquas to their win over the Cheetahs © Getty Images
The Golden Lions got back to winning ways on Saturday by recording an impressive 28-19 victory over Natal Sharks at Ellis Park.
The log leaders suffered their first defeat of the season last weekend, losing out narrowly to Western Province in Cape Town last weekend, but they started brightly in Johannesburg and racked up six points early on courtesy of the boot of Elton Jantjies.
Frederic Michalak responded with a brace of penalties of his own to level matters but the Lions bagged the first try of the afternoon when Lionel Mapoe forced his way over in the corner shortly after a terrific break from Jantjies. The latter converted and then, after Michalak had replied with a third penalty for the Sharks, produced two more successful strikes on goal to make it 19-9 to the hosts at the break.
Jantjies extended the Lions' advantage with two more penalties shortly after the restart before Michalak dragged the Sharks back into contention when he created a try for Stefan Terblanche just before the hour. Michalak converted and then stepped aside as Meyer Bosman split the sticks with a stunning long-range penalty. However, Jantjies responded with a penalty to make it five wins out of six for the Lions.
The Griquas bounced back from their 44-20 defeat to the Blue Bulls last time round with a fine 23-20 win over the Free State Cheetahs in Kimberley.
The home side started the better of the two sides with versatile back Rudi Vogt getting them on the scoreboard with two early penalties. However his counterpart Cheetahs fly-half Sias Ebersohn struck back with a try and he duly converted his own effort. Half-back replacement Piet van Zyl then stretched their lead to 14-6 with a try before Vogt reduced the deficit to 14-9 before half-time.
With the Cheetahs looking to re-find the form which saw them run in 80 points in their win over the Pumas last weekend - they opted to play conservative rugby and take the points on offer rather than chase a try-scoring bonus point. And Ebersohn added six more points to the scoreboard early in the second-half. However - after that score it was all Griquas. The Cheetahs were not helped by an injury to Springboks World Cup reserve Ashley Johnson with the No.8 on the receiving end of a vicious hit from Davon Raubenheimer.
Ebersohn then went onto miss a drop-goal and the Griquas benefitted from the Cheetahs' inability to turn territory into points with Riaan Viljoen crashing over for a try. Following Earl Rose's conversion, the Cheetahs lead was reduced to four points. And Jean Stemmet won the game for the Griquas with a late try with Rose converting the extras.
The Blue Bulls made it three from three with a disjointed 28-20 win over the Leopards at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium on Friday.
In a tryless first-half it was the Bulls who went into the break 9-3 in front thanks to the boot of Louis Fouche. But the second-half was a different affair with Leopards' fullback George Tossel crossing the line with ease early on. But the Bulls responded in typical fashion with an impressive driving maul from 30 meters out with Warwick Tecklenburg profiting and crashing over for the score. And following Leopards' Brandon Snyman going into the sin-bin for his side's repeated infringements - CJ Stander drove over from close range for the Bulls.
And the Bulls stretched their lead thanks to replacement back-row Gerrit-Jan van Velze finishing off a spectacular 80 meter counter attack. The 14-point lead was enough for victory but they could not secure the elusive bonus-point victory. Instead it was the Leopards who crossed the line with Jovan Bowles scoring. And the Leopards added another try late on through Joubert Engelbrecht to give the scoreboard a less one-sided feel.
Despite suffering two sin-bins, Western Province managed to overcome the Pumas 24-13 in Witbank on Friday.
The visitors had Conrad Jantjies and Nick Koster sin-binned against a side who shipped 80 points to the Free State Cheetahs last weekend. But it was Province who started the match in the better form of the two sides with Johann Sadie scoring. And Province stretched their lead with Sadie on hand to put JJ Engelbrecht over the line to make it 14-0. The Pumas were on the scoreboard before half-time with Coenie van Wyk getting points on the board to make the score 14-3 at the break.
And the visitors started the second-half with 14 men following Jantjies' sin-bin on the half-time hooter. But it was Province who stayed hammering on the Pumas' door but basic errors let them down in the red zone. And the Pumas made them pay with a try from Hendrik van der Nest. Province's Demetri Catrakilis reasserted their lead with a penalty before half-back partner Dewaldt Duvenhage dived under the posts to take their tally to 24 points. Koster was sin-binned in the final ten minutes and Doppies La Roux crashed over for the hosts for a consolation score deep into injury time.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Monday Maul takes in retirement talk, England reshuffles, France's unfair advantage and Scotland's communication breakdown
John Griffiths takes an analytical look at Week 3 of ESPN Scrum's Fantasy Rugby game - who should you have picked?
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt won the tactical battle and set his team on course for a shot at the Grand Slam. Tom Hamilton reports from Dublin
With the World Cup only a few months away, the last thing France needed was doubts over the future of their coach, writes Huw Richards