Currie Cup - Round 3
Golden Lions maul Leopards
ESPNscrum Staff
July 29, 2011
Griquas centre Barry Geel looks to the heavens, Griquas v Lions, GWK Park, Kimberley, South Africa, July 23, 2011
Barry Geel was among the try-scorers as the Griquas triumphed in Witbank © Getty Images

The Golden Lions survived a late fight-back from the Leopards to prevail 53-36 in a 13-try thriller at Ellis Park.

Golden Lions scrum-half Jano Vermaak opened the scoring for the hosts after just six minutes with Burton Francis adding the extras. Dylan des Fountain stretched the lead when he crossed the line after 14 minutes but Francis failed to add the further two points. But Phillip de Wet struck back for Leopards moments later to reduce the deficit. However, wing Deon van Rensburg reasserted the Lions lead with a score in the 21st minute to make the score 19-10 a quarter of the way through the match.

The Lions soon had their fourth try through blindside Cobus Grobelaar - though this was open to debate with at least two other players claiming the score - who secured the bonus point for the Lions in the 31st minute but Francis failed to convert the effort. The Lions showed no signs of relenting with van Rensberg running in his second try of the game before half-time. But the Leopards had the last say of the first-half scoring through Wynand Willis to make the score 29-15 at the break.

The Leopards shocked the home crowd scoring a try early in the second period with de Wet grabbing his second score of the match. Try as they might, the Leopards could not get within touching distance of the Lions and Wikus van Heerden stretched the home side's lead in the 55th minute to 36-22. However - the Leopards were not finished and struck back through Danie Dames who took advantage of a quick throw-in to cross the line.

Moments later the away side drew level with Whestley Moolman crossing the whitewash making it 36-36. With a tense finish in the pipeline, the Lions retook the lead through Jacobie Adriaanse who established a seven point cushion - following Francis' conversion. A late Francis penalty and Michael Rhodes try secured the win for the hosts with the Lions prevailing 53-36.

The Western Province left it late to secure a four-try bonus point over rivals the Blue Bulls eventually winning 35-7 at Newlands.

Hooker Tiaan Liebenberg opened the scoring for Province after five minutes but Demetri Catrakilis failed to add the extras. Catrakilis kept the scoreboard ticking over in the 15th minute with an additional penalty. Winger Danie Poolman scored a stunning try later on in the first-half as Province threatened to pull away. However - with seven minutes left in the first-half Bulls centre Stefan Watermeyer crossed the line to reduce the deficit to 18-7. Catrakilis had the last say of the first-half with a penalty to make the score 21-7 at the break.

A quiet second-half ensued and it took until the 62nd minute for Province No.8 Nick Koster to score the home side's third try. Province eventually secured their bonus point try with Dewaldt Devenage crossing the line - making the final score 35-7.

In the earlier Saturday kick-off- five tries in the first half was enough for the Natal Sharks to record their third straight victory of 2011 Currie Cup with a 43-34 win over the Free State Cheetahs at Kings Park.

Wing Mark Richards got his name on the scoreboard after just five minutes for the Sharks with fullback Louis Ludick stretching the lead seven minutes later. Jacques Botes soon got in on the act in the 17th minute and the Sharks secured their bonus point after just twenty minutes with a score from winger Sibusiso Sithole.

The Cheetahs rallied and got their name on the scoreboard through Riaan Smit but carelessness from Free State gifted Botes his second try of the match. Boom Primslo scored the Cheetahs second try of the first-half on the half-time hooter, following TMO confirmation, but it was the Sharks who went into the break 31-17 in front.

Fly-half Frederic Michalak knocked over two penalties for the Sharks at the start of the second 40 but it was Cheetahs prop WP Nel who crossed the whitewash for the first score of the second-half, cutting the lead to 37-24. Following a further Michalak penalty, the Cheetahs struck back through Corne Uys, who crossed the line meaning the game went into the final ten minutes with just nine points in it. Both sides exchanged penalties but it was the Sharks who survived the scare and hung on for what transpired to be a convincing victory.

On Friday - the Griquas claimed their first win of the new Currie Cup season by surviving a spirited second-half fightback from the Pumas to record a 40-33 victory at the Johann van Riebeeck Stadium in Witbank on Friday evening.

Goal-kicking fullback Riaan Viljoen, who this week revealed that he will be joining the Sharks for next season, opened the scoring for the Griquas with a penalty but it was the Pumas who claimed the first try of the evening when fly-half Coenie Van Wyk touched down just nine minutes in.

However, the Griquas posted a swift riposte through winger Richard Lawson and then stunned their hosts by running in a four tries in a glorious 13-minute spell, centre Jean Stemmet dotting either side of wing Dusty Noble's touchdown, before No.12 Barry Geel dived over just before the break.

The Pumas had been handicapped by the sin-binning of inside centre Tiaan Marx on 28 minutes but the Griquas deserved credit for ruthlessly exploiting their temporary numerical advantage and they were good value for their 34-7 half-time lead.

Credit to the Pumas, though, they regrouped well during the break and set about dragging themselves back into the contest when outside centre JW Jonker crossed seven minutes after the restart. Griquas No.8 Jonothan Mokuena then saw yellow on 58 minutes and the Pumas wasted little time in taking advantage, blindside flanker Corne Steenkamp flopping over seconds later before Hendrik van der Nest raced through to score just after the hour mark to reduce the home side's arrears to just 11 points.

The Griquas responded with a 70th-minute penalty from Rudi Vogt - his second of the half - but van der Nest picked up his second try of the game in the closing stages to set up a frantic finale. However, the Pumas were ultimately forced to settle for nothing more than a losing bonus point and they remain winless after three rounds of competition.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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