By Lucky Maree
In no way can this match between the Lions and Western Province be seen as the two best teams from two top provinces in the country.
Rather it is a test of the depth and culture of the two franchises as both teams are largely without their top players.
The first try comes after only three minutes when Scarra Ntobeni goes over in the corner for a WP scrum try in the corner, but the Lions respond with a coast to coast team try when wing Boldwyn Hansen goes over in the corner. Game on. Game very definitely on.
Something has happened in the Lions camp. It’s hard to remember that just two weeks ago these guys were running around the field like zombies after the disastrous conflict with the Lions management.
The revival seems to be player driven and it is very effective. These guys want to play.
After 25 minutes, Scarra Ntobeni has scored two tries, Marcel Theunissen has scored one for Province and Boldwin Hansen has score his second for the Lions and the referee has made a bad yellow card decision. It’s an all-action half hour.
Suleiman Hartzenberg scores giving Province a 20 point lead at half time.
From the start of the second half, Province are on the attack and looking good while the Lions appear fragile. But this new-look Lions team fights back. They camp on the Province try line. They look as if sooner or later they will score, but the defence holds. A classic rugby match.
The deadlock on the scoreboard is finally broken after 25 minutes of the half when Province force the forwards over for a seven pointer for Andre-Hugo Venter, but the Lions respond immediately with a converted try from Rynard Roets and again through Nico Steyn.
It may be too little too late, but it is still a fighting performance to be proud of.
Province will be happy with the win and the Lions will be happy that their shoulders never dropped. It’s a good match for South African rugby. It speaks of depth and commitment from both teams.
Lions (4 tries) 28-44 (5 try) Western Province
Pictured above: Western Province on the attack
Image source: Currie Cup