Griquas hold on for exciting win over Lions

rugby05 May 2023 16:01| © SuperSport
By:Rob Rush

The Windhoek Draught Griquas were made to work incredibly hard for it but eventually held out over a thrilling final few minutes for a 25-21 (halftime 19-7) win over the Fidelity ADT Lions in their Currie Cup clash at Windhoek Draught Park in Kimberley on Friday afternoon.

The home side got off to a flying start in the match as they ran the Lions off their feet in the opening minutes.

A 15-phase move that went from one side of the field to the other ended with a gap opening in the visitors' defence, allowing outside centre Jay-Cee Nel to receive a perfect offload and go over under the uprights, allowing flyhalf Lubabalo Dobela an easy conversion for a 7-0 lead after three minutes.

Griquas were soon in for their second try in the 14th minute as more good interplay got them into the Lions' 22m, where a penalty led to a quick tap and flank Hanru Sirgel powered his way over for another seven-pointer and a 14-0 lead.

The Lions were struggling to hold onto possession and after they finally enjoyed their best spell of the game they set up a lineout deep in the Griquas' 22m, duly securing it and powering it towards the line where wing Sako Makata came in from the side to stop it, leading to a 23rd-minute penalty try.

With Makata yellow carded the hosts were down to 14 men. Despite this, they hit back in the 28th minute as Sirgel received the ball out wide in the Lions' half, shrugged off a tackle and put away scrumhalf Johan Mulder to run in an unconverted score as they took a 19-7 lead into halftime.

It was the Lions that then started the second half on top as they put the Griquas under pressure from the get-go.

Another penalty was put out on the hosts 5m, with the Lions setting up the maul and rumbling over with flank JC Pretorius dotting down and replacement flyhalf Tiaan Swanepoel adding the extras to make it 19-14 after 47 minutes.

The visitors took the lead for the first time in the game 12 minutes later as the Lions attacked into the Griquas' 22m, and some good pick-and-goes ended with replacement hooker Morne Brandon going over for the converted score.

The Griquas had a chance to hit straight back with a penalty in front of the posts in the Lions' 22m, but after a couple of quick taps the Lions survived and managed to clear.

The Griquas' next chance for points, in the 66th minute, saw them go straight for poles from long distance with Dobela nailing the penalty to retake the lead 22-21.

Seven minutes later Dobela was on target again giving them a four-point lead going into the final five minutes, but a yellow card to replacement hooker Sean Swart for a poor clean-out gave the Lions an extra man for the rest of the game.

Despite the Lions throwing everything that they could at the Griquas in their 22m over the final minutes, taking the game into three minutes of extra time, the hosts managed to defend their line and make the vital turnover to seal the win.


WINDHOEK DRAUGHT GRIQUAS: Tries - Jay-Cee Nel, Hanru Sirgel, Johan Mulder; Conversions - Lubabalo Dobela (2); Penalties - Dobela (2)

FIDELITY ADT LIONS: Tries - Penalty Try, JC Pretorius, Morne Brandon; Conversions - Tiaan Swanepoel (2)