Lions move into play-off places
September 10, 2010
Jannie Boshoff played his part in the Golden Lions' crucial win over the Griquas in Johannesburg © Getty Images
Elton Jantjies turned in another flawless display of goal-kicking as the Golden Lions followed up their stirring win over Western Province with a 40-29 triumph over the Griquas at Ellis Park.
Jantjies kicked ten from ten last weekend and he landed another eight successive strikes on goal in Johannesburg on Saturday afternoon, meaning the fly-half has nailed 19 kicks in a row in the Currie Cup.
Of greater importance to the Lions, though, was the fact that they managed to accrue a bonus point from a victory over a side that began the day just one place - and one point - below them in the table.
Rocco Jansen and Jean Botha notched early on to help the Griquas into a 12-9 lead but the Lions led by eight at the break after replying through Josh Strauss and Jaco Taute. The latter struck again shortly after the restart and although the Griquas rallied admirably, with Bjorn Basson crossing to bring the visitors back into it, the Lions put the final result beyond all doubt when Taute put Jannie Boshoff away to score.
The Griquas managed a consolation try through Rudi Vogt in the dying seconds but they left empty-handed, meaning they have it all to do if they are to force their way into the play-off picture before the season's end.
The Lions' victory, meanwhile, means they now stand fourth because the Blue Bulls slipped to a 20-14 defeat to the Free State Cheetahs, who jump to third in the standings on the back of their hard-fought win over the reigning champions in Bloemfontein.
The Cheetahs enjoyed a dream start at the Free State Stadium, with Philip van der Walt touching down with barely 20 seconds of the game elapsed following a stunning counter attack right from the kick-off.
The Bulls posted a swift riposte through scrum-half Tewis de Bruyn and although that try went unconverted by Jacques-Louis Potgieter, the fly-half made amends by landing two subsequent penalty attempts to help his side into a four-point advantage by the interval.
However, the Cheetahs bossed the third quarter and a penalty from Louis Strydom and a try from Hendro Scholtz, after a sustained spell of pressure, saw them move 20-11 ahead by the hour mark. The Bulls drew to within four thanks to another penalty from Potgieter but the Cheetahs refused to buckle, holding on quite admirably to claim their fourth win on the bounce.
Elsewhere on Saturday, the second-placed Western Province arrested a run of three straight defeats in fine style by routing the winless Leopards 59-17 at Newlands.
The men from Cape Town ran in nine tries in total, with bonus point having been wrapped up by half time thanks to tries from Deon Fourie, Francois Louw, Brok Harris and Nick Koster. Louw then touched down again shortly after the restart before Dewaldt Duvenhage, Yaya Hartzenburg, Anton van Zyl and Juan de Jongh all got in on the try-scoring action.
The hapless Leopards did manage two tries of their own, through Reginald Kember and Theo van Wyk, but that those scores offered scant consolation on what was another desperately depressing afternoon for the visitors.
Meanwhile, leaders Natal Sharks bounced back from last weekend's loss to the Bulls by battling their way to a deserved 30-14 victory over the Pumas in Witbank on Friday night.
Having upset the Bulls already this season, the Pumas have a new-found air of confidence but they were run ragged by the Sharks in the first half. In a helter-skelter opening there were three tries inside the first five minutes as Jacques Botes and Lwazi Mvovo Scored either side of Pumas' fly-half Elgar Watts.
The Sharks threatened to run away with the game before half-time as Odwa Ndungane and Craig Burden both exposed some lightweight defence from the Pumas, but flanker Corné Steenkamp crashed over off the back of a maul to give the home side a sliver of hope just before the break. The second-half produced plenty of effort but no further tries, with Sharks fly-half Patrick Lambie slotting the only points with a penalty.
Huw Richards rewinds to 1864 to mark the birth of Welsh rugby's first authentic star - Arthur Gould
Michael Cheika has succeeded in becoming the Wallabies coach under his own terms, writes Greg Growden
In the blink of an eye, a winger can go from a hero to villain. Hugh Godwin talks to Zac Guildford and David Strettle about life on the flank
Munster, No.8s, the imploding Australians, wonderful Glasgow and Lancaster's dilemma - it is Monday Maul time