The Golden Lions seem assured of defending their unofficial title of Craven Week champions after a gritty win over the Pumas on Wednesday.
The Lions are all but assured of contesting the prestigious main match on Saturday at the University of Johannesburg after securing a hard-fought 23-9 win over Mpumalanga. On Monday they thrashed SWD 51-5, but the team from George bounced back with a good win over Zimbabwe today.
Other teams to record victories were Boland and Free State.
The Lions led 17-6 at the break after making better use of their chances in a tight first half. Wingers Tshepo Masuga and Ivandou Daters rounded off after some superb set-up play by the Lions forwards and flyhalf Justin Botha added two conversions and a penalty.
The Pumas replied through two penalties by flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff. Botha and Boshoff exchanged penalties early in the second half to move the score to 20-9. The Lions then enjoyed a sustained period of attack during which they came close to scoring on numerous occasions, but were thwarted by some stout defensive play by the Pumas.
With seven minutes remaining Botha added his third penalty to register the final points of the match. The Lions won last years “final” beating EP 38-15 and will probably play the winner of Thursday’s main match between the Blue Bulls and Leopards.
The Craven Week continues tomorrow.
10h10: Griquas vs Border CD, 11h30: Griffons vs Namibia, 12h50: KZN vs EP, 14h10: Falcons vs Border and 15h30: Blue Bulls vs Leopards.
DAY THREE RESULTS (half-time score in parenthesis):
Golden Lions 23 (17) Mpumalanga 9 (6)
Western Province 21 (15) Free State 22 (3)
Limpopo 20 (20) Boland 40 (18)
Zimbabwe 20 (6) SWD 40 (21)