Rugby / 27 September 2015, 12:44pm / Jacques van der Westhuyzen
The Lions registered their biggest win of the 2015 Absa Currie Cup season in Bloemfontein yesterday, running in 10 converted tries to all but secure top spot and a home semi-final with two rounds remaining.
Johan Ackermann’s team hit back in emphatic style after failing to pick up the four-try bonus point in their previous two outings – against the Bulls and Sharks – and with matches to come at Ellis Park against Western Province and Griquas, the Lions will have a home play-off in three weeks’ time.
Any thoughts that the men from Joburg had peaked too soon and had hit a dip in form were quashed as they demolished an injury-hit and out-of-sorts Cheetahs team, who had no answer for the pace and width employed in the Lions’ game.
It’s been said before during the season, but it looks increasingly likely that only a miracle will prevent Ackermann’s team from lifting the Currie Cup in a few weeks’ time.
It’s not only the play by the backs that is so impressive, but the Lions are also extremely sound up front, hardly missing a line-out and always winning their scrums.
Their pace, running lines and support play sets them apart from all the other teams in the country at the moment.
Flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff was magnificent in the No10 jersey, as he has been all competition long.
Boshoff slotted 10 conversions – many from the touchline – kicked an early penalty, and his punting from out of hand was also top notch, setting his side up with a number of long-range touch-finders.
He’s missed only two kicks at goal all season and yesterday picked up another 23 points to comfortably lead the points-scoring chart.
The Cheetahs offered little on attack, but Clayton Blommetjies was always asking questions and it was he who set up Sergeal Petersen for his first-half try, while flank Vincent Jobo earned a hat-trick after finishing off three strong line-out drives by his forwards.
Captain Francois Venter got a fifth try for the home team late in the game when he intercepted a loose pass by the Lions.
This, however, was a day the Cheetahs will rather want to forget.
Lions wing Courtnall Skosan started the rout in the eighth minute when he skipped past a few defenders to score in the corner.
And before half-time he’d got a second try, along with Steph de Wit and Jaco Kriel, who’d get a second try in the second half as well.
After the break, the very impressive and ever-improving Howard Mnisi crossed for his five-pointer and he was followed by the returning Warren Whiteley, Kriel, Jaco van der Walt and then, late on, Kwagga Smith and Anthony Volmink.
The Lions will go into the penultimate round of action this coming weekend with a nine-point lead at the top of the standings, with the Blue Bulls and Western Province fighting it out for second place.
The Cheetahs and Sharks will be involved in a battle for the last semi-finals spot in the two remaining rounds.