Lions down Eagles in George
The Golden Lions moved to the top of the North section of the Vodacom Cup thanks to a 37-14 (halftime 30-7) win over the SWD Eagles at Outeniqua Park in George on Friday night.
The visitors racked up a commanding 23-point lead at the break, thanks to three tries in 10 minutes and an excellent kicking display by flyhalf Burton Francis.
But the men from Johannesburg went to sleep in the second period, allowing the Eagles to dominate everywhere except on the scoreboard.
Having said that, the home side will be kicking themselves for their performance, which included some excellent passages of play but very little in the way of finishing.
A good example of this was the opening 10 minutes, when the home side’s handling was out of the top drawer and would have made any visitor from Mars think that it was the Lions who were the amateur team.
On numerous occasions the Eagles would fashion a five-to-one overlap, only for a player to break inside or a forward in the backline to slow down the movement.
On another day SWD might have scored four tries in quick succession, but in this match it was the Lions finished with the bonus point.
Flyhalf Burton Francis gave the visitors an early 6-0 lead but the Eagles soon made it 7-6 when right wing Howard Noble finished off underneath the posts a movement that started in the Eagles’ half of the field.
But Francis soon restored the Lions’ advantage with a third penalty before three tries in the 10 minutes before halftime, to lock Johan Snyman, eighthman and man of the match, Dries van Schalkwyk, and scrumhalf Michael Bondesio, took the wind out of the Eagles’ sails.
Francis rubbed salt in the wounds by converting all three, as well as Bondesio’s second try just after the break to make it 37-7.
But the Lions, perhaps understandably given the scoreline, decided to take their foot off the pedal, leaving Eagles replacement wing Clint Wagman to score the only other points of a lacklustre half in the 78th minute.
Eagles 14 – Tries: Howard Noble, Clint Wagman. Conversions: Jeffrey Taljard, Deroy Rhoode.
Lions 37 – Tries: Johan Snyman, Dries van Schalkwyk, Michael Bondesio (2). Conversions: Burton Francis (4). Penalties: Francis (3).