Currie Cup

Lions devour Valke in Currie Cup

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It took the Lions just 18 minutes to score their bonus point try in the 83-14 Absa Currie Cup thrashing of the Valke in Brakpan on Friday night in what was a total mismatch.

In all, the Lions ran in 13 tries to two and gave their log points differential a huge boost.

About the young Valke side, one can say that they never gave up.

Initially, they tackled well, supported strongly when the ball came their way and were, perhaps, the side with the best handling skills in the country.

But, up front they need some weight, some power and some grunt and the little hard work their forwards provided was just no match for the Lions.

Six tries and a scoreline of 38-14 at the break tells the story of the initial Lions’ dominance.
 
It also disguised some wayward passing with Earl Rose, despite a good all-round game on the run, a culprit with a few passes which didn’t go to hand.

The second half was even worse for the Valke with the Lions running in another seven tries, although it took them 14 minutes to score after the break.

With big in-form No 8 Willem Alberts out for the season, it would have been pleasing for Lions coach Eugene Eloff to see the linking and work rate of Ernst Joubert in his first start after injury. He had a hand virtually every try.

There was some great running by the Lions in the first half with the rugby becoming a little looser towards the end.

Unlike the Springboks, their forwards still did their basics while playing an expansive game -and that was where they were better, stronger and more experienced than the home side.

Scrumhalf Chris Jonck, getting a rare start because of the suspension of Jano Vermaak, did not last long before a bump to the head saw Walter Venter come on at centre and Doppies le Grange move to scrumhalf with no No 9 replacement on the bench.

But such was the Lions’ dominance up front that Le Grange was seldom under pressure and scored two tries.

The second half deluge came despite the Lions playing with 14 men for the last 16 minutes after Jaco van Schalkwyk was red-cared for a late spear tackle.

The Lions’ forwards were a little looser in the second half and could afford to be so, but Eloff will generally be quite pleased with their discipline and structure in a match which could so easily have disintegrated from their side.

Scorers:

Valke:
Tries: Dewald Pretorius, Gavin Whittingham.
Conversions: Poerie van Rooyen (2)

Lions:
Tries : Jaco Pretorius, Jaco van Schalkwyk (2), Anton van Zyl, Trompie Nontshinga, Michael Killian (2), Doppies le Grange (2), Ettienne Reynecke (2), Rayno Benjamin (2).
Conversions: Earl Rose (6) Louis Strydom (3).

Sapa – CurrieCupRugby.com

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