Buddies bash Boks …

Termed the “Buddies vs Boks” final, I had a feeling the Lions could do it, but not via the most emphatic Absa Currie Cup final victory since 1980. To hammer the Bok filled Sharks 42-16 at the Coke Tin on Saturday is an incredible feat.

It’s also a great Currie Cup story that will add to the folklore of this magnificent tournament … Well done to the Lions, and well done to coach John Mitchell. May South Africa learn the necessary lessons from this tale …

It was a significant triumph, as it was the Lions’ first outright Currie Cup final victory on home soil since 1950 and their first title since 1999 after losing in the finals of 2002 and 2007.

The winning margin of 26 points is higher than the two biggest Currie Cup finals victories of the last decade. The only bigger win in a Currie Cup final came in 1980 when Northern Transvaal beat Western Province by 39-9.

The Lions built this victory on a superb defensive performance, especially in the first half during which the home side’s tackling was exemplary. The only Sharks try came via what looked to be a missed knock on from referee Mark Lawrence.

Flyhalf Elton Jantjies was again in fine form, contributing 24 points and taking home the Man of the Match award. Jantjies’ points tally is just two fewer than the record of 26 set by Derick Hougaard in 2002, while Patrick Lambie, contributed 25 points in last year’s final for the Sharks.

John Mitchell rightfully lauded his team’s calmness under pressure – they did not concede a single point while they were playing with only 14 men after CJ van der Linde was sin binned for a moronic WWF hip toss of Keegan Daniel.

“People assumed I was crazy to take the job as Lions coach, but I love a challenge and my dream was to restore the pride that was once here in Johannesburg. I know it’s been a frustrating number of years for all Lions fans, who probably had to turn the telly upside down to see their team on top of the log” said Mitchell.

Sharks coach John Plumtree was magnanimous:

“We were outplayed in every area of the game and were beaten by the better team. They were backed by a massive crowd, they attacked and defended well, and when they got in front it was always going to be difficult for us,” said Plumtree.

Scorers:

Lions – Tries: Michael Killian, Patric Cilliers, Jaco Taute. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (3). Penalties: Jantjies (5), Taute. Drop goal: Jantjies.

Sharks – Try: Willem Alberts. Conversion: Frederic Michalak. Penalties: Michalak (3).

 

Under-21

The Blue Bulls beat the Sharks 46-30 in a highly entertaining final. The Pretoria-based team scored six tries to the three of the Sharks as they dominated proceedings from the outset.

Three of the Bulls’ tries came in the first 25 minutes, with the SA Under-20 captains of the last two seasons, CJ Stander and Arno Botha, both crossing the Sharks’ tryline.

The KwaZulu-Natalians’ nippy scrumhalf Cobus Reinach, whose late father Jaco was a Springbok wing and a Springbok sprinter in the 1980s, scored two of his team’s tries. The Sharks U21s fought back well in the second half, but unfortunately their fullback Gouws Prinsloo had an off day with the boot and missed five of his 11 kicks at goal.

A late converted try by Dalton Davis and a second penalty goal by flyhalf Louis Fouché sealed the victory for the team from Pretoria.

Blue Bulls – Tries: Juan Schoeman, Courtnall Skosan, Arno Botha, CJ Stander, Franco Mostert, Dalton Davis. Conversions: Louis Fouché (5). Penalties: Fouché (2).

Sharks – Tries: Cobus Reinach (2), Francois Kleinhans. Conversions: Gouws Prinsloo (3). Penalties: Prinsloo (3).

 

Under-19

The Golden Lions fought back to beat the Blue Bulls 20-19.

Well on their way to a win, the Blue Bulls lead 6-3 at the break, which they extended to 13-3 early in the second half. But the home team remained calm and chipped away at the Bulls’ lead. They ended up scoring three tries after the break for a narrow victory.

Lions – Tries: Errol Jagger, Tiaan Putter, Stephan Nel. Conversion: Marais Schmidt. Penalty: Schmidt.

Blue Bulls – Try: Wiaan Liebenberg. Conversion: Tony Jantjies. Penalties: Jantjies (4).

 

New look … Josh Strauss’ beard was forcefully removed by teammate Wikus van Heerden as the team sat down for supper on Saturday evening … Equipped with a razor, he snuck up behind Strauss and cut away a huge chunk of the famous facial hair … And that was that … Lisa Hack Tweeted this picture:

And the resultant new look Strauss (as seen on the Sport24 Facebook page):

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