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Lions maul Cheetahs in Currie Cup clash

12 December 2020 - 18:56 By liam del carme
Willem Alberts and Tiaan Swanepoel of Golden Lions celebrating their try during the Carling Currie Cup match between Toyota Cheetahs and Xerox Golden Lions XV at Toyota Stadium on December 12, 2020 in Bloemfontein, South Africa.
Willem Alberts and Tiaan Swanepoel of Golden Lions celebrating their try during the Carling Currie Cup match between Toyota Cheetahs and Xerox Golden Lions XV at Toyota Stadium on December 12, 2020 in Bloemfontein, South Africa.
Image: Frikkie Kapp/Gallo Images

Not much separates the Cheetahs and the Lions geographically but the gulf in experience was soon apparent in this Currie Cup clash.

With eight Springboks in their squad including Roelof Smit who represented the Green and Gold against the Barbarians in 2016, compared to the Cheetahs' solitary Bok, Frans Steyn, the Lions took control in the first quarter and never looked back.

They took a firm hold on proceedings up front and from their surfeit possession they at times mesmerised with their attacking play from deep. They were equally adept at playing a tighter game and was superbly marshalled by captain Elton Jantjies.

They faced an early deficit however through two penalties including an absolute monster from Frans Steyn who raised the flags from 64m out.

Soon however the Lions' scrum was in the ascendancy. Jannie du Plessis who has largely been a spectator since the resumption of the game post lockdown, was elevated to the starting team and the stalwart made his presence felt against rookie loosehead Boan Venter.

On the other side Sti Sithole also made his experience count against Khutha Mchunu.

The grunt of the Lions pack helped get them onto the front foot and it allowed Vincent Tshituka to run between defenders, while Willem Alberts just ran straight at them.

The Cheetahs battled manfully, chiefly through captain Carl Wegner and Jeandre Rudolph but the Lions simply carried too much fire power.

With all that territory and possession the Lions still had to make the right calls. That they did with aplomb and proved equally potent in the confines as they were in the wide open spaces.

Although the Lions these days are a little more measured compared to Johan Ackermann's devil-may-care marauders from a few years back, they remain potent in attack. They are now at times partial to taking shots at goal when penalty opportunities arise.

As the shadows lengthened in the first half, the visitors grew in confidence and played with elan and enterprise.

They mixed up their tactics and laid siege to the Cheetahs 22 before Alberts bulldozed his way over the tryline in the 27th minute.

The Lions continued to dominate and by the half hour mark the Cheetahs had made twice as many tackles as the visitors.

They stretched their advantage soon after the break when some deft passing from Jaco Visagie and Jaco Kriel helped set up a try from deep for scrumhalf Andre Warner.

The tries kept coming as the Lions firmed their place in the top four at the expense of the Cheetahs.

CHEETAHS (9) 23

Try: Ruben de Haas, Marnus van der Mewe. Conversions: Tian Schoeman, Frans Steyn. Penalties: Schoeman (2), Steyn.

LIONS (13) 39

Tries: Andre Warner (2), Willem Alberts, Jannie du Plessis, Marvin Orie. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (4). Penalties: Jantjies (2).

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