Jantjies kicks Lions to Currie Cup glory
October 29, 2011
The Lions celebrate their Currie Cup Final triumph over the Sharks
© Getty Images
The Golden Lions produced a brilliant display to claim this year's Currie Cup from last year's holders as they prevailed 42-16 in front of their home crowd in Johannesburg.
Tries from Michael Killian, Patrick Cillies and Jaco Taute were enough to get them over the line but it will be fly-half Elton Jantjies who will take the plaudits as he contributed 24 points to their overall haul with a faultless kicking display. The Sharks attempted to rally throughout but last year's champions were thoroughly outplayed by a Lions side who claimed their first Currie Cup on home soil in 61 years.
Jantjies got the scoreboard ticking over in the second minute of the match with a well struck penalty to give the home side the advantage and fullback Taute nudged a phenomenal place kick three minutes later - his first of the season - from 60 metres out to put the home side firmly in the ascendancy.
However, former France international Frederic Michalak struck back for the Sharks after Michael Rhodes was penalised at the breakdown but their revival was temporary as Jantjies stretched the Lions' lead with two well struck penalties soon after. And in the 25th minute of the match they had their first try with winger Killian profiting from Doppies la Grange's good work to cross the line.
Michalak struck back with a penalty in the 28th minute and three minutes later the Sharks were given an opportunity to get back in the match with Lions prop CJ Van der Linde sent to the sin-bin but they failed to make the most of the one man advantage with J.P Pietersen failing to ground Patrick Lambie's kick through the closest they came to getting on the scoreboard with time ticking down in the first-half.
Trailing 19-6 at half-time, the Sharks came out of the blocks with gusto in the second 40 and were soon rewarded for their attacking possession with Michalak slotting a penalty. But man-of-the-match Jantjies soon re-asserted the 13 point difference with a calmly struck drop-goal a minute later.
With 10 minutes gone in the second-half, the Sharks threatened a comeback when Willem Alberts crashed over but it was a score laced with controversy as the Springboks flanker appeared to knock the ball on en route to scoring. However, referee Mark Lawrence deemed it to have come off Lions skipper Joshua Strauss and allowed the score much to the dismay of the Ellis Park faithful. However, the Sharks' joy proved to be short lived as prop Cillies dived over after good work from Jantjies' dart established their platform.
And after Cillies' score, it was the home side who cranked up the intensity as Jantjies kicked two more penalties to take his haul to 22 points. With the Lions keeping the pressure on the Sharks, Taute crashed into the corner to put the final nail in the Sharks' coffin. Jantjies kicked an effortless conversion from the touchline to bring the Ellis Park crowd to their feet as they saluted their new hero and a hugely impressive performance.
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