The home team outscored the visitors from Kimberley by three tries to one in the first half, earning them a handy 21-13 halftime lead, and they built on this after the break with two penalty goals and a late try.
This is the first time since 2015 that the Xerox Golden Lions advance to the final of the Currie Cup Premier Division – sponsored by DirectAxis Financial Services.
It was a tight tussle, and proper semi-finals rugby as the men from Kimberley took advantage of the Xerox Golden Lions’ ill-discipline at times to keep the scoreboard ticking, with their captain and flyhalf, George Whitehead, kicking four penalty goals.
But handling errors at crucial times throughout the match did not assist Tafel Lager Griquas’ cause.
Xerox Golden Lions winger Madosh Tambwe opened up the scoring in the sixth minute after he received a fantastic pass out wide and beat the defence to the tryline.
The visitors hit back a few minutes later thanks to some good pressure after the ball bounced off the uprights from an unsuccessful penalty kick, with Chris Smit (centre) touching down, and the Whitehead conversion levelled the scores at 7-7.
The hosts struck again in the 15th minute with Stean Pienaar (winger) showing his class on attack to dash to the tryline after a sharp break by former Junior Springbok centre Wandisile Simelane, and the conversion by Shaun Reynolds (flyhalf) – who had a great day with the boot – extended their lead.
Two penalty goals by Whitehead, however, allowed the visitors to reduce their deficit to one point, but this was short-lived as talented Xerox Golden Lions No 8 Hacjivah Dayimani snuck through the defence on the stroke of halftime after several phases to hand them a 21-13 lead.
Tafel Lager Griquas had the first say in the second half as Whitehead slotted his third penalty goal, but Reynolds cancelled this out with his first three-pointer of the match early in the fourth quarter to push their lead back to eight points.
This same scenario played out in the fourth quarter, with Whitehead and Reynolds each adding another penalty goal as the clock continued to wind down.
The Xerox Golden Lions, however, dealt the killer blow to Tafel Lager Griquas’ aspirations of advancing to their first Currie Cup final since 1970 with four minutes left in the game as Marnus Schoeman (flanker) scored their fourth try from a rolling maul, which pushed the match out of range for the visitors.
Xerox Golden Lions 34 (21) – Tries: Madosh Tambwe, Stean Pienaar, Hacjivah Dayimani, Marnus Schoeman. Conversions: Shaun Reynolds (4). Penalty goals: Reynolds (2).
Tafel Lager Griquas 19 (13) – Try: Chris Smit. Conversion: George Whitehead. Penalty goals: George Whitehead (4).