WP snatch victory over Lions
Brendon Atwell
April 30, 2016

DHL Western Province snatched a late dramatic 27-24 (halftime 17-3) victory as fullback Grant Hermanus landed a late penalty over the Xerox Golden Lions in their provincial tournament clash at DHL Newlands on Saturday.

The home side were good value for money in the first stanza, running in three unanswered tried through wings Sibahle Maxwane and Khanyo Ngcukana as well as hooker Mike Willemse with Hermanus only converting Ngcukana’s try at the end of the first half while the Lions’ only scoreboard show was a penalty from flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff.

Left wing Maxwane opened the scoring as early as the 5th minute with an unconverted intercept try in the corner before Boshoff reduced the deficit to two points 10 minutes later. But the home side extended their lead when Willemse broke around a 5m lineout and barged over for an unconverted try. Province followed that up with a fantastic team-try when scrumhalf Justin Phillips created space and with good hands from centre Tim Whitehead, right wing Ngcukana dived over to hand Province a handy 14-point halftime advantage.

The Lions were rocked early in the second stanza with a yellow card when scrumhalf Ricky Schroeder was sin-binned for tripping the Province fullback but that did not deter the visitors as they managed to cross the line for their first try through fullback Sylvian Mahuza which Boshoff converted to reduce the deficit to seven points.

Yet the visitors allowed the home side to get straight back onto the attack with a poor retake from the kick-off. The ball popped out of the ensuing ruck and the WP captain, Chris van Zyl, darted around, picked up the ball and fed Willemse, who dived over the line for his second try. Hermanus landed his second conversion to take the lead back out to 14 points.

But a few minutes later, referee Rasta Rasivhenge whipped out his yellow card again, this time sending Hermanus to the bin and the Lions didn’t need to wait for a second invitation to get back into the game. Mahuza gathered a clearance kick at the back and ran at the home side’s defence, beating two defenders and waltzing over for his second try which replacement flyhalf Shaun Reynolds converted.

Flyhalf Scott van Breda had the chance to push WP’s lead out to 10 points but missed a penalty with 15 minutes left on the stadium clock. The flyhalf then dropped a simple chance inside his 22m area which allowed the Lions to put some pressure on the home side. Van Breda, in an attempt to clear the ball from the scrum, had his kick charged down and the Lions were awarded a 5m scrum.

Reynolds received the ball from the scrum and produced a beautiful dummy and sauntered over the line for an easy try, which he converted himself to draw the score level with just six minutes remaining. But a handling error inside their own 22m gave possession to the home side and their forwards pounced, putting the Lions’ forwards under pressure, resulting in the winning penalty.


DHL Western Province – Tries: Mike Willemse (2), Sibahle Maxwane, Khanyo Ngcukana; Conversions: Grant Hermanus (2); Penalty: Hermanus.

Xerox Golden Lions – Tries: Sylvian Mahuza (2), Shaun Reynolds; Conversions: Marnitz Boshoff, Reynolds (2); Penalties: Boshoff.

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