Golden Lions seal top spot
October 9, 2011
Ashley Johnson bursts out of a maul for the Cheetahs © Getty Images
The Golden Lions maintained their position at the summit of the table with a 42-25 victory over Western Province on Saturday.
The hosts took an early lead when hooker Bandise Maku charged over in the sixth minute. Fly-half Elton Jantjies converted and landed a further two penalties before converting Jaco Taute' try just before the break. Western Province were just about in touch thanks to two penalties and a drop goal from Demetri Catrakilis.
Catrakilis continued his fine kicking with three further successes that took the visitors within three points of the Lions. But Taute struck again to widen the gap and replacement hooker Martin Bezuidenhout also touched down moments later. Deon Fourie's try gave the visitors hope of remaining in the contest but Derick Minnie crashed over for his side's fifth try of the match to seal a victory that meant they cannot be overhauled at the top of the table.
Griquas battled back to upset the Blue Bulls in a 12-try thriller that ended 48-44 in Kimbelrey on Saturday. Griquas sealed the win with three tries in the final quarter with inside centre Matthew Rosslee scoring a brace and Rocco Jansen touching down for the second time in the match.
Both teams scored six tries each in total with Rudi Vogt and Dusty Noble also touching down for Griquas. Bjorn Basson and Jacques Potgieter both crossed twice for the Blue Bulls while Akona Ndungane and Jano Vermaak also scored tries for the visitors. Blue Bulls fly-half Louis Fouché kicked four conversions, a penalty and a drop goal but he was outdone by his opposite number Vogt, who landed six conversions and two penalties. Despite picking up two bonus points, the Blue Bulls' hopes of reaching the play-offs appear remote after the defeat.
The Natal Sharks thrashed bottom side the Leopards 41-14 at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium. The Sharks built a strong lead through tries from Adrian Jacobs, Jacques Botes and Lwazi Mvovo. The Leopards fought back with tries from Johann Laker and Danie Dames, both of which were converted by Wesley Dunlop.
The Sharks, though, maintained their composure and further tries from scrum-half Conrad Hoffmann, flanker Keegan Daniel and winger Sibusiso Sithole sealed the victory with Freddie Michalak landing four conversions and a penalty.
The Free State Cheetahs came from behind to beat the Pumas 29-23 in Witbank on Friday. The Pumas were on the brink of a win as they led the Cheetahs 23-17 with five minutes to play following tries from Dewald Pretorius and Jaco Bouwer and a penalty and conversions from Carl Bezuidenhout.
But with lock Eduan van der Walt in the sin bin, the Pumas could not withstand the Cheetah's late onslaught. First Sias Ebersohn barged over and converted his own try and then Andries Strauss crashed over to seal the bonus point for the Cheetahs. Ebersohn had earlier landed a penalty and converted tries from Philip van der Walt and Marcel van der Merwe.
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