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Lions – The Golden Lions coasted to an emphatic 45-15 Vodacom Cup win over an inexperienced Leopards XV at Pirates Rugby Club in Johannesburg on Saturday, as three converted tries in the final 12 minutes sealed the visitors’ fate.
The Leopards decided not to use some of their frontline players, opting instead to allow them to represent the Pukke side in the Varsity Cup.
Their lack of inexperience was not particularly visible in the first 67 minutes as the Leopards played with great intensity, commitment and pride.
The Lions, meanwhile, were guilty of some poor decision making, sloppy handling and a lack of finishing touches close to the line.
But in the final 12 minutes, Warren Whiteley, Antonie Volmink and Andries Coetzee scored tries, which were converted by Marnitz Boshoff.
The Leopards scored a try after the hooter through Armand van der Merwe, which was converted by former Springbok flyhalf Andre Pretorius.
The Lions had some scoring opportunities in the first half but they dotted down only twice as handling errors left them almost empty handed.
In the second period, they found the missing pieces to the puzzle. Jaco Kriel, the Man of the Match, and Warren Whiteley impressed with their support play and their performance at the breakdowns.
Lions centres Dylan des Fountain and JP du Plessis gave the wings, Deon van Rensburg and Volmink, ample opportunities and space to score.
To their credit, the visitors tackled hard to keep the Lions at bay and force them into handling errors.
Their tactic worked for most of the match, but the constant pressure forced them into first-time mistakes late in the encounter.
Golden Lions: Tries: Deon van Rensburg, JJ Breet, Lionel Cronje, Robbie Coetzee, Warren Whiteley, Antonie Volminck, Andries Coetzee. Conversions: Lionel Cronje (2), Marnitz Boshoff (3).
Leopards XV: Tries: Danie Dames, Armand van der Merwe. Conversion: Andre Pretorius. Penalty: Warren Gilbert. – Sapa