The congested nature of the Currie Cup log was illustrated once again by the Lions’ 34-17 win over Griquas in Kimberley on Friday night.
By picking up a bonus point win, Swys de Bruin’s men moved from bottom of the log to third.
That’s bound to change when Western Province take on the Free State Cheetahs on Saturday but, more importantly, it confirms that the Lions have found some momentum again after a poor start to the campaign.
Who was the star in this match?
From the moment he was (unexpectedly) signed, Ryan Kankowski seemed like a good buy. The experienced No 8 is exactly the type of wise head you’re looking for in this tournament and his skill-set fits in at the Lions. He delivered a superb performance in this game, providing leadership, thrust in open play and sturdy defence. Not even a botched try could sour his night’s work.
Key moments and themes
- The foundation for this win was laid by the Lions’ experienced forward pack. They bossed the scrums in general and were reasonably stable at line-out time too. Kwagga Smith’s try from a rolling maul showed the Lions’ superiority up front as well as their willingness to play in a more balanced manner.
- In contrast, Griquas’ performance in the set-pieces cost them dearly. They looked extremely dangerous on the attack in broken play – which also helped them get back into the picture after going down 0-24 – but it’s not a viable way of winning games. Nonetheless, their fightback was laudable.
- The home side’s comeback was also down to the Lions’ continued problems with yellow cards. Centre Harold Vorster had been sin binned in the 13th minute for a professional foul but that didn’t affect the visitors’ momentum. However, Smith’s 10-minute suspension saw the Lions concede 17 points. Referee Egon Seconds had ruled he came in from the side but that call seemed very harsh.
- Coach De Bruin will be really pleased with his side’s scrambling defence, especially in the second half. Playing with 14 men did give them some headaches but after the initial shock, the Lions tackled quite effectively.
Griquas 17 – Tries: Kyle Steyn, AJ Coertzen. Conversions: George Whitehead (2). Penalty: Whitehead (1).
Lions 34 – Tries: Cyle Brink, Kwagga Smith, Marco Jansen van Vuren, Rohan Janse van Rensburg. Conversions: Jaco van der Walt (4). Penalties: Van der Walt (2).