Lions whip Bulldogs to finish top
The Golden Lions ensured that they finished top of the North section of the Vodacom Cup when they recorded a 52-19 (halftime 26-0) win over the Border Bulldogs at Coca-Cola Park in Johannesburg on Saturday.
It was the home side’s sixth win in eight matches and took them above Griquas into pole position heading into the quarterfinals, where they will most likely play the Free State Cheetahs.
For the Bulldogs, plenty of courage was not enough as they suffered their seventh defeat in eight games to finish bottom of the South section by some distance.
The Lions raced into a 12-0 lead after just 16 minutes thanks to tries from hooker Edgar Marutlulle and centre Dylan des Fountain, the latter converted by flyhalf Hein Cronjé.
Marutlulle got his second in the 28th minute when, from a quick penalty tap close to the line, the pint-sized hooker burst through a number of tackles to reach over the line.
Potgieter converted to make it 19-0.
Border fullback Ntabeni Dukisa meanwhile missed two penalty attempts that would have seen his team grab at least a foothold in a match that quickly got away from them.
SA U20 wing Wandile Mjekevu got his team’s bonus point just before the break when another poor piece of defending allowed him to cut inside from a simple 8-9 scrum move in the Border 22.
Flanker Renaldo Bothma kept the scoreboard ticking along merrily when he cantered in for the Lions’ fifth try shortly after the break.
But the Bulldogs did some cantering of their own, too, when skipper and centre Chumani Booi danced through from 15 metres out to register his team’s first try in the 47th minute.
Wing Byron McGuigan added the extra points but normal service was soon resumed when Des Fountain was joined on the scoresheet by his centre partner, the impressive Divan Ferguson.
Replacement lock Samora Fihlani got the Bulldogs’ second try in the 64th minute when he wrestled his way over following a good buildup.
A third followed shortly thereafter, to another Border sub, Onke Dubase, as the Lions were guilty of clock-watching, their job for the day done.
But two tries in three minutes right at the death from lock and skipper David Bulbring ensured the home side finished with a flourish -- and half-a-century of points.
Golden Lions 52 – Tries: Edgar Marutlulle (2), Dylan des Fountain, Wandile Mjekevu, Renaldo Bothma, Divan Ferguson, David Bulbring (2). Conversions: Hein Cronjé (5), Kabous Janse van Rensburg.
Border Bulldogs 19 – Tries: Chumani Booi, Samora Fihlani, Onke Dubase. Conversions: Byron McGuigan (2).