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Lions made to sweat for slender win over Pumas at Ellis Park


Ruwellyn Isbell of the Steval Pumas and Cyle Brink of the Golden Lions during the Currie Cup match between Xerox Golden Lions and Steval Pumas at Emirates Airline Park on September 02, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

At least the bleeding has stopped for the Lions but their mission to qualify for the knockout stages of this season’s Currie Cup remains up in the air.

The Lions went into this match on the back of a four match losing streak at the hands of bitter rivals Bulls, Sharks, Western Province and Cheetahs and they desperately needed this victory which was achieved by the narrowest of margins.

They managed to score five tries against this stubborn Pumas side but coach Swys de Bruin and his think tank will agree that they were far from their best and their knockout credentials are going to be tested in the coming weeks of the second round.

They are left with five round robin matches that continue with a tricky trip to the Griquas in Kimberley on Friday before turning their attention to traditionally bruising encounters against Bulls, Sharks, Western Province and Cheetahs.

The only positive for the Lions is that the Bulls, Western Province and Cheetahs will be travelling to Johannesburg and they will only be on the road to the Griquas and the Sharks.

Lions got going with the opening try of the match as early as the second minute from the effort of veteran eightman Ryan Kankowski on the corner following a line-break by Ashlon Davids who failed to convert.

Three minutes later, Pumas replied with a try of their own that was scored by Stefan Ungerer under the posts which was converted by Kobus Marias.

The Lions continued to surge forward in search of more points and they got their reward after 13 minutes when Ruan Dreyer powered home but Davids’ conversion could not find the middle of the poles.

It was proving to be a try fest as Lambert Groenewald touched down for the Pumas’ second try and the fourth of the match after 17 minutes which was easily converted by Marias who made it two kicks out of two.

The Lions retook the lead on the half hour mark through a try by Marco janse van Vuuren after they dominated the scrum and Davids finally got his kicking spot on from the resultant conversion.

Lions went to the break with a healthy eight point lead after Madosh Tambwe touched down on the corner after he received a well-taken cross field pass from Davids shortly before the half time hooter sounded.

Six minutes after restart, Lions received a numerical boost after Jerome Pretorius was sent to the sin bin for a dangerous tackle but the home side failed to take advantage as they conceded another try from Groenewald to move within one pint of the Lions.

The Pumas’ momentum was halted a few minutes later when Lions pulled away again on the score-sheet after Rohan Janse van Vuuren scored the fifth try for the home side which was easily converted by Davids.

The Pumas did not lie down as they moved back to within one point of the Lions after 67 minutes through a try by Ruwellyn Isbell which was converted by Marias but the home side held on to in the closing stages to win by just one point.

 – TimesLIVE

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