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Lions 42 vs WP 36

Lions win to stay in the hunt

WP fail to stop our winning run

The Lions kept their slim hopes to reach the semis alive by beating Western Province 42-36 at Ellis Park on Saturday, extending their winning run to seven matches, and also beating all the big unions in the second round.

The match kicked off with a great tempo, with the Lions attacking with purpose, and looking like they are up for the match. Their first opportunity came early, when WP decided to run the ball inside their own 22, they knocked it on and the Lions had an attacking scrum inside the WP 22. From the scrum Vermaak went to the openside to Andre Pretorius, who kicked a banana kick over the heads of the WP backline, and Jaco Pretorius, who obviously knew what was coming, was there to fall on the ball and score the 1st try, his 8th this season. Andre Pretorius converted and the score was 7-0 after just 2 minutes.

Again in the 8th minute, WP was carrying the ball up deep inside their 22, where they were caught and penalised for holding on. Pretorius kicked the penalty and the score was 10-0.

11 minutes into the game WP hit back, running a free kick just inside the Lions 22, they went right and the strength of Sireli Naqelevuki helped him to dive over in the right hand corner for the try. Olivier missed the conversion, the score 10-5.

The Lions almost scored again, establishing an overlap on the left, but Jaco Pretorius was tackled just meters short of the line, and WP managed to steal the ball and stop the attack.

17 minutes into the game Sireli Naqelevuki scored his second, again using his power to break through tackles and scoring in the right corner, but again Olivier missed the conversion, the score 10-10.

From the kick-off WP conceded a penalty, halfway between their 10 meter and 22 meter lines, in the middle of the field, and Pretorius kicked the penalty, the score 13-10 for the Lions. 

Jaco Pretorius then scored his second, it came from a Lions line-out on the WP 22 meter line, the Lions drove it up from a Cobus Grobler take, and then when the ball came down the backline, Jaco Pretorius managed to take a gap between the wing and centre, and run in the easy try. Andre Pretorius missed the conversion, but the score was 18-10 for the Lions.

28 minutes into the game Andre Pretorius got another chance to add points after WP conceded a penalty at a scrum in the middle of the field, but he hit the left upright and the chance was lost.

3 minutes later the Lions conceded a penalty just outside their 22 where Bertus Smit tackled a player before he caught the ball, this time Olivier kicked it over to make the score 18-13 for the Lions.

WP then came close to scoring, but were tackled just short of the Lions try-line, but the Lions conceded a penalty at the ruck. WP decided to go for the line-out, and from this they drove it over for a try by Luke Watson. Olivier missed the conversion, and the score was tied again at 18-all.

Ludik came close to scoring in the 28th minute, beating a few tackles and dotting the ball down, but from the replay it was clear that his left foot was just in touch, and the TMO decision rightly was: no try.

Then we saw some magic from Andre Pretorius, first magically slicing through almost the whole WP forward pack before passing to Doppies, who was tackled, and then from the ruck he dropped the ball through the uprights for 3 points, putting the Lions in a 21-18 lead at the break.

2 minutes into the second half WP conceded another penalty, this time just inside their own half, and Pretorius went for poles, making no mistake and putting the Lions in a 24-18 lead.

The Lions then made a mistake of trying to run the ball out of their 22, and Doppies knocked on just inside his 22. From the scrum Bolla passed to Sireli Naqelevuki who came in from where he was standing at left wing, and the powerful runner broke through tackles to score under the poles. Olivier had no trouble with the conversion, and WP went into the lead for the first time in the match, 25-24.

From the kickoff the Lions secured the ball, and the runner was tackled high, ten meters outside the WP 22 meter line. Andre Pretorius kicked the penalty to put the Lions back in the lead, 27-25.

24 minutes into the 2nd half WP regained the lead from another Naas Olivier penalty, the score 28-27.

Two minutes later it was WP's turn to concede a silly penalty, this time inside their 22 where a player went offside at a ruck. Pretorius kicked his 5th penalty of the night for the Lions to regain the lead, 30-28.

Franco van der Merwe and Grant Esterhuizen joined the game, and then disaster for the Lions, a Jano Vermaak kick was charged, the WP loosie picked up the ball and fed Corne Uys, who scored close to the right corner. Olivier missed the conversion, but this put WP in the lead again, 33-30.

32 minutes into the 2nd half the Lions were awarded a kickable penalty on the WP 22, and took a big gamble, kicking for touch. They won their 5 meter line-out and drove it up, but the maul became static, luckily the ball came out to Vermaak, he went openside to Andre Pretorius, who found Jaco Pretorius next to him, again he slipped past the defenders and scored his 3rd of the night, converted by Petoors, score 37-33 Lions.

Then some more Lions magic, the Lions turned over a ball at a ruck, Doppies broke away with the ball to the blindside, and passed to Earl Rose on his outside. Just before the try-line Earl was tackled by Bolla Conradie, but not held, and he rolled over and stretched to place the ball on the line, scoring his first try for the Lions. Pretorius missed this conversion, but the Lions were leading 42-33, with only about 3 minutes to go.   

The Lions conceded a offside penalty kicked by Olivier late in the game, butr that was it, 42-36 for the Lions, what a win!

The scorers:

For the Lions:
Jaco Pretorius (3), Earl Rose      
Andre Pretorius (2)     
Andre Pretorius (5)
Andre Pretorius       

For WP:
Sireli Naqelevuki (3), Watson, Corne Uys.          
Cons: Olivier  
Pens: Olivier (3)   

Yellow card: none
Red card: none 

Lions: 15 Earl Rose, 14 Wylie Human, 13 Jaco Pretorius, 12 Doppies la Grange, 11 Louis Ludik, 10 Andre Pretorius, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Pietie Ferreira, 7 Cobus Grobbelaar, 6 Wikus van Heerden(capt), 5 Anton van Zyl, 4 Cobus Grobler, 3 Bertus Smit, 2 Ethienne Reynecke, 1 Heinke van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Riaan Kruger, 17 Lawrence Sephaka, 18 Gordon Gilfillan, 19 Franco van der Merwe, 20 Nic Eyre, 21 Jaco van Schalkwyk, 22 Grant Esterhuizen.

WP: 15. Gio Aplon, 14. Sireli Naqelevuki, 13. Sarel Potgieter, 12. Corne Uys, 11. Zhahier Ryland, 10. Naas Olivier, 9. Bolla Conradie, 8. Robbie Diack, 7. Pieter Louw, 6. Luke Watson(c), 5. Andries Bekker, 4. Gerrie Britz, 3. Brock Harris, 2. Tiaan Liebenberg, 1. Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16. Huia Edmonds, 17. JD Moller, 18. Francois van der Merwe, 19. Ross Skeate, 20. Francois Louw, 21. Paul Delport, 22. Joe Pietersen  

Referee: Marius Jonker 
Touch judges: Stuart Berry & Sindile Mayende  
TV Match Official: Lourens van der Merwe

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