Lions secure top spot

SIMON BORCHARDT watched the Golden Lions beat Western Province 42-25 at Ellis Park after leading 20-9 at the break.

The five-point haul means the Lions will stay in pole position no matter what happens on the final weekend of league action. WP, meanwhile, need only beat the Pumas at Newlands to reach the play-offs after the Blue Bulls’ implosion against Griquas in Kimberley.

The Lions had to work hard for this win, although the final scoreline may suggest otherwise.

They opened the scoring in the fifth minute when the ball was sent wide from a lineout and Warren Whiteley offloaded in the tackle to Bandise Maku. Jantjies added the conversion, before Demetri Catrakilis kicked a penalty and a drop goal to make it 7-6 at the end of the first quarter.

The kicking contest continued with two penalties from Jantjies and one from Catrakilis resulting in a four-point lead for the hosts.

WP were guilty of missing too many first-time tackles during this period, and another one just before half-time saw them concede a try, with Jantjies bouncing off Catrakilis before sending Jaco Taute away on his inside.

Province had most of the ball early in the second half but botched a try when they were blown up for obstruction on the Lions’ line. Catrakilis, though, kicked three penalties to reduce the deficit to two with 20 minutes to go.

That was as close as the vistors got.

Taute grabbed his double after a Jantjies’ break near halfway, and replacement hooker Martin Bezuidenhout scored the bonus-point try soon after coming onto the field. Jantjies kicked both conversions and added a penalty.

Deon Fourie scored a consolation try for WP with five minutes to go, but the Lions struck again just before full-time through Derick Minnie to seal a comprehensive win.