Lions thump Western Province to make statement

rugby26 May 2023 18:04| © MWP
By:Wynona Louw

The ADT Fidelity Lions outscored DHL Western Province four tries to two for a 12-32 (HT 12-17) bonus-point triumph at Athlone Stadium in Cape Town on Friday.

Scrumhalf Sanele Nohamba was a standout as he contributed 14 points with the boot over their higher-placed opponents.

Going into the encounter, the men from Johannesburg - who were boosted by the return of their United Rugby Championship players - looked to improve on their erratic form this season and bag only their fifth win.

Province, on the other hand, were on a winning streak and would have hoped to extend that run and solidify their place in the top four.

The hosts' start to the game was far from ideal one, however.

It took the visitors just a minute to score, from kick-off, when ace winger Edwill van der Merwe went over in prime spot under the posts against his former province (0-7).

In wet conditions, the set pieces were certainly one area in which both teams would have wanted to gain some stability.

While it was Province who had their mitts all over the oval in the first half, they struggled to make use of all that possession and territory as they forced their way into the Lions' red zone to no avail for a significant period. The Johannesburgers' dam wall eventually broke, though, as the hosts strung together phase after phase to allow Mnombo Zwelendaba to go over in the corner after a top pass by scrumhalf Godlen Masimla (5-7).

The Lions stretched their lead just short of the half-hour mark when Nohamba made no mistake hitting the black dot (5-10), and while the Lions struck again, WP managed to creep up on the opposition's points advantage before going into the shed.

Van der Merwe scored a stunner to go 5-17 up, but John Dobson’s unit set up a driving maul five metres out and, after the Lions went one man down for repeated infringements, the home side made proper use of their pack - and the Lions losing loosehead Ruan Dreyer - to get a penalty try (halt-time 12-17).

Scrum infringements continued to scream the loudest during the third and fourth quarters, and while WP attacked the most, the Lions were the team to use their chances as they added their third with 15 to go via Ruan Venter (12-24) after a quick tap-and-go to regain a 12-point lead.

Their scrumhalf kept the scoreboard ticking with another successful shot at posts (12-27), and with time running out, WP looked set to score a consolation try, but it was disallowed and followed up with another blow as Luke Burger was sin-binned at the death.

The Lions weren't quite done yet, though.

It was wave after wave of attack from the Lions as they sent Venter over for his brace in extra time to seal the bonus point (12-32).

Western Province next face the Windhoek Draught Griquas in Kimberley on 2 June.


Western Province - Tries:Zwelendaba, Penalty Try Yellow card:Luke Burger

Lions - Tries: Edwill van der Merwe (2), Ruan Venter (2). Conversions: Sanele Nohamba (3). Penalties:Nohamba (2).Yellow card:Ruan Dreyer