Golden Lions put Cheetahs to the sword
Eighthman Dries van Schalkwyk scored two tries as the Golden Lions beat the Free State Cheetahs 37-19 (halftime 23-9) in their Vodacom Cup match played at Coca-Cola Park in Johannesburg on Saturday.
The Cheetahs began with purpose and had flyhalf Johan Goosen to thank for an early lead thanks to three penalties, in the third, fifth and 14th minutes.
But the home side No 10 Burton Francis was equal to the task, slotting penalties in the eighth and 17th minutes to keep his team in touch before they stepped on the accelerator with three quick tries as the inexperience of the young visitors began to tell.
The first came in the 27th minute when impressive eighthman Van Schalkwyk dived over under the posts after a good buildup, but it was the Lions’ second score, on the stroke of halftime, that had the tiny crowd cheering.
Francis fielded a midfield ball near halfway and sidestepped past several Cheetahs chasers before the ball found its way to hooker Martin Bezuidenhout galloping down the left-hand touchline.
The front-row forward, with a full head of steam, ran well before offloading at the perfect moment to wing Dusty Noble on his inside.
Van Schalkwyk got his second just after the restart when a good run down the left-hand touchline by Jannie Boshoff saw Francis stab a kick through near the line, which the No 8 gratefully poached in front of the noses of a number of Cheetahs defenders.
Bezuidenhout was rewarded for his excellent play with the bonus-point try after 51 minutes, converted again by Francis for a 37-9 lead.
Replacements Franna du Toit and Marcel van der Merwe got over for the Free Staters with late consolation scores but it was too little, too late for the young men from Bloemfontein.
Golden Lions 37 – Tries: Dries van Schalkwyk (2), Dusty Noble, Martin Bezuidenhout. Conversions: Burton Francis (4). Penalties: Francis (3).
Free State 19 – Try: Franna du Toit, Marcel van der Merwe. Penalties: Johan Goosen (3).