Late penalty sinks WP

RYAN VREDE saw the Golden Lions win a tight encounter against Western Province 26-23 thanks to a penalty after the siren had sounded.

WP’s discipline was awful throughout the match and it was fitting that a penalty, which stemmed from a blatantly offside Deon Fourie steal, would be their demise. Elton Jantjies’ sixth successful goal grabbed a much-needed victory for the union that has endured a torrid time off the field in recent weeks.

WP got off to a good start, spraying the ball across the park in a manner some of their supporters have been pleading for. They earned the right to do so through powerful phase play, which created holes in the Lions’ defensive that WP’s hot steppers exploited.

Gerhard van den Heever rounded off a 15-phase move which featured an excellent break from Juan de Jongh. Demetri Catrakilis converted and added a penalty shortly thereafter for a comfortable lead 12 minutes into the contest.

But the Lions regrouped and settled into their game plan, dominating the remainder of the half. Jantjies got them off with a penalty and Josh Strauss crossed the whitewash soon thereafter, finishing a slick attacking move.

Jantjies missed the conversion but banked a penalty just before the break to take his side ahead. WP must have felt comfortable in the opening exchanges, however, having being starved of possession and territory and in the face of an improved defensive effort, they looked decidedly rudderless.

The visitors started more strongly upon resumption of the match, but they butchered a clutch of very good opportunities. Again the Lions survived without too much damage inflicted and rebounded superbly, Jantjies capitalising on WP’s ill-discipline to establish a 20-13 lead going into the last 15 minutes.

Catrakilis set up a tense finish with a penalty nine minutes from full-time, but yet more brainless breakdown play saw Jantjies kick his fifth three pointer of the evening to regain breathing room.

But WP refused to relent and having camped in the Lions’ red zone for much of the closing stages, finally broke through, Brok Harris driving over. Catrakilis levelled to spark hope of a WP win, but the Lions drove into their half and Jantjies cooly slotted the decisive kick.