Currie Cup

Lions suffer shock Pumas Currie Cup defeat

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The Lions signed off their Currie Cup season in unspectacular fashion as they suffered a shock 34-27 defeat at the hands of a tenacious Pumas oufit at Coca-Cola Park in Johannesburg on Friday evening.

After the teams had retreated to the change-rooms at 17-all, the Pumas returned to the ‘Lions Den’ to tame the opposition with two thrilling second-half tries close to end of the match to crown their victory effort.

The five-try victory was worth five points to the Pumas while the Lions, with four tries, picked up two.

Straight from the kick-off, the visiting Pumas wasted no time in taking the game to the Lions, who seemed somewhat perplexed with their opponents’ spirited display. The Pumas’ show of enterprise in the opening 10 minutes may have been worth as many points but instead they came away with five, courtesy of a Corné Steenkamp try (5-0).

During this passage of play Pumas flyhalf Elgar Watts missed a goalable penalty and a conversion.

The Lions needed some 15 minutes to see off the Pumas opening burst and scrumhalf Jano Vermaak led the charge before centre Waylon Murray supplied a scoring pass for flanker Derick Minnie to dot down for an unconverted try (5-5).

In the 21st minute the Lions snatched the lead with an unconverted try through rightwing Jannie Boshoff but their slender 10-5 lead disappeared four minutes later when the Pumas scored twice in quick succession through centre Shaun Venter and Steenkamp, one of which was converted by Watts (17-10).

Four minutes ahead of the break, Steenkamp was yellow carded for repeated infringements and the Lions’ exploited the position two minutes later with a try by Murray. This time Jantjies was on target with the conversion attempt to round off the first-half scoring at 17-all.

The Pumas returned in the second half looking to regain the initiative but the Lions absorbed the pressure before they created a turn-over which led to a converted try by their eighthman Warren Whitely to open up a seven-point lead (24-17). In the process the Lions picked up a bonus point.

Just as the match approached the hour mark, both sides managed to tighten up their defences and excellent scoring attempts were stifled at either end of the field. Instead the scoreboard was kept ticking over with a penalty each by Jantjies and Watts (27-20).

But just when it looked like the Lions were finally starting to impose themselves on the match the Pumas turned the match on its head in the final 11 minutes of play with tries by scrumhalf Hendrik van der Nest and fullback Johan Jackson. Watts converted splendidly on both occasions from the touchline for a 34-27 matchwinning lead.

Final Score Lions 27 Pumas 34

Scorers

Lions:
Tries: Derick Minnie, Jannie Boshoff, Waylon Murray and Warren Whitely.
Conversions: Elton Jantjies (2).
Penalty: Jantjies.

Pumas:
Tries: Corne Steenkamp (2), Shaun Venter, Hendrik van der Nest and Johan Jackson.
Conversions: Elgar Watts (3).
Penalty: Watts.

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