If the Golden Lions are to go all the way in this shortened version of the Currie Cup, it would have come courtesy of loose forward Hacjivah Diyamani who again put on a stellar performance to help his side to a come-from-behind 38-35 win over the Blue Bulls here last night.
The 20-year-old Dayimani thrives on open play and as soon as his team began chasing the game, the former Jeppe Boys’ High eighthman came into his own and scored the Lions last two tries that ultimately won them the game.
Dayimani’s first try in the 65th minute was nothing short of brilliant as his fleet-footed inside outside step against Bulls wing Duncan Matthews was enough to propel him along the left hand touch line for the 40 metre sprint that saw the Lions regain the lead for the first time since the seventh minute.
Five minutes later Dayimani nailed the final mail into the Bulls coffin as he latched on to a short pass from flyhalf Shaun Reynolds to canter in for his brace and eventually the winning score.
However, Dayimani was not the Lions lone star as the rest of his teammates came to the party in denying the Bulls in the dying moments of the game with some timely turnovers first from the scrum and then twice at the breakdown five metres from their try-line.
The Lions had done exceptionally well to turn proceedings around after it had looked like they were on their way to their first defeat of the season when the hosts had opened up an 11 point lead in the 51st minute.
As much as the Lions had fired the first shot in anger when Reynolds scored within six minutes of the game kicking off at the unfamiliar time of 4pm, it was the home side that dictated terms from there on.
Soon after Reynolds’ try, the Bulls capitalised on some sloppiness from the visitors as Andre Warner scored before flank Ruan Steenkamp scored the first of his hat-trick of tries in the 14th minute.
It was obvious from the early exchanges that both sides had no interest in defending and that led to a deluge of tries with each side scoring a brace of tries before the half-time interval which left the Lions trailing by seven points after Steenkamp scored on the cusp of the half-time siren.
Steenkamp grabbed his third try in the 51st minute and as quickly as he was being feted the hero of the day, the hard as nails loose forward turned villain a few minutes later when he was shown a yellow card for collapsing the maul.
Steenkamp’s 10 minutes in the naughty chair followed by flyhalf Manie Libbok’s penalty miss on the hour mark swung the momentum in the game as it not only kept the Lions in the game but sparked Dayimani into action as the Lions condemned the Bulls to their second consecutive defeat of the Currie Cup.
Blue Bulls (28) 35
Tries: Andre Warner, Ruan Steenkamp (3), Johnny Kotze. Conversions: Manie Libbok (5)
Golden Lions (21) 38
Tries: Shaun Reynolds, James Venter, Dillion Smit, Hacjivah Dayimani (2). Conversions: Shaun Reynolds (5). Penalty: Shaun Reynolds