Lions savage Leopards
The Xerox Lions set about exorcising the memory of their disastrous Super 14 campaign thanks to a comprehensive 43-13 (halftime 20-3) win over the Platinum Leopards in their Absa Currie Cup Premier Division match at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg on Friday.
The Lions lost all 13 matches during the Super 14 but they would have been encouraged by the start to their Currie Cup season as they ran in five tries to claim a bonus-point victory.
Scrumhalf Jano Vermaak turned in his customary polished performance for the Lions as the Gauteng-based team put together a workmanlike performance to douse the Leopards’ challenge.
The first half was a scrappy affair with both sides seemingly more intent on bashing the living daylights out of each other rather than playing rugby.
The home side’s lot was not improved by a poor kicking performance from their flyhalf Cecil Dumond who failed with three kickable penalty attempts in the first quarter.
Dumond eventually succeeded with a penalty in the 18th minute but his opposite number Herkie Kruger slotted two three-pointers of his own to put the visitors into the lead for the first time.
With eight minutes left in the half Vermaak breached the Leopards’ defence as he dummied his way over from a five-metre scrum for a converted try.
The score seemed to invigorate the visitors and outside centre Marius Delport took full advantage of a stolen line-out ball to cross for the Lions’ second try in the dying minutes of the first half.
It took the Lions just 10 minutes of the second half to wrap up the bonus point for scoring four tries as former Sharks’ centre Waylon Murray scored on debut before Vermaak sniped over for his second five-pointer.
Trailing 32-3 it would have been easy for the Leopards to fold but, in the 63rd minute, they showed their fighting spirit by scoring the try of the match with a move that began on their own tryline.
The home side successfully chased through a kick before taking the ball through multiple phases before the impressive wing Deon Scholtz was on hand to dot down.
Kruger succeeded with his third penalty but the Leopards struck again when lock Wilhelm Koch was driven over the tryline by his fellow forwards for the home side’s final score.
It was to be the Lions who would have the final say in the match as SA under-20 representative Jaco Taute scored a try in the last minute with the fullback going over in the corner.
Platinum Leopards – Tries: Deon Scholtz, Wilhelm Koch; Penalty: Cecil Dumond.
Xerox Lions - Tries: Jano Vermaak (2), Marius Delport, Waylon Murray, Jaco Taute; Conversions: Herkie Kruger (3); Penalties: Kruger (4).