KSA Shark ©

Lions beat Bulls, close gap on leaders

Written by Andre Bosch (KSA Shark ©)

Posted in :Bulls, Currie Cup, In the news, Lions on 9 Aug 2008 at 07:08

The Xerox Lions closed the gap on the Absa Currie Cup frontrunners with a thrilling 30-27 (halftime 20-13) victory over the Vodacom Blue Bulls at Loftus Versfeld on Friday night.

Ken Borland writes for Superrugby that the Bulls’ Currie Cup campaign collided with an irresistable force on Friday night as a superb Lions display – coupled with wins for Free State and the Natal Sharks – knocked them from first to fourth on the log. The Lions now lie third, just two points behind the log-leading Sharks.

The Lions took control of a scintillating encounter with two tries shortly after half time to take a 30-13 lead and, although the Bulls hit back manfully, the visitors showed a fierce desire to win in holding on to their lead in the closing stages.

Under-rated hooker Willie Wepener put on a top-class display, excelling in all facets of the game as he scored twice himself and featured prominently in another try.

Flyhalf Earl Rose kicked two early penalties to give the Lions a 6-3 lead, although the youngster’s use of his boot in open play was often inappropriate.

A particularly dumb chip just outside his own 22 gifted the Bulls the ball and led to the opening try in the 17th minute – an exciting effort as flyhalf Morne Steyn kicked the ball to the right wing and fullback Zane Kirchner scored as he outjumped Rayno Benjamin.

But the Lions followed up ten minutes later with an even more spectacular try. After pulling the Bulls’ defence left then right, Wepener was eventually on the end of a move in which most of the team handled.

The Lions would pay for another poor kick by Rose – a grubber into centre Wynand Olivier’s legs that forced the visitors to concede a penalty at the ruck – as Steyn kicked a penalty to level the scores at 13-13 with two minutes remaining in the first half.

But the Lions struck back after the hooter with a sumptious try, a marvellous individual effort by Jaco Pretorius. The outside centre ghosted through Olivier’s tackle, drifted towards the touchline and then straightened, his sheer pace allowing him to dodge any cover defenders as he scored from his own ten-metre line.

Rose’s conversion meant the Lions were 20-13 up and the match turned tellingly in their favour in the opening ten minutes of the second half, thanks to Wepener.

The 27-year-old does not buckle in a powerful Lions scrum, he throws the ball in straight and he has an amazing ability to pop up in the right place on attack. Wepener is a skilful player too as he showed when two sublime passes from him led to Franco van der Merwe’s marvellous try as the flank beat wing John Mametsa to the tryline from 20 metres out.

Wepener scored again himself just five minutes later, after centre Doppies la Grange’s intercept led to quick turnover ball, but he’ll probably value his role in Van der Merwe’s try even more.

At 30-13 down, the Bulls desperately needed a game-breaker, and their comeback came from replacement Burton Francis. He came on at flyhalf as Steyn shifted to inside centre, Olivier went to outside and Marius Delport replaced Akona Ndungane on the wing.

A wonderful step inside and break saw Francis score under the posts midway through the second half and the Bulls ensured a thrilling finale to a top-class game when they scored again five minutes later.

Replacement scrumhalf Francois Hougaard used the boot to good effect over the back of a scrum and when Cobus Grobbelaar couldn’t take the ball cleanly, he was robbed by Bulls eighthman Pedrie Wannenburg. The former Springbok then won the foot race as he showed good pace to score from 45 metres out.

Steyn’s excellent angled conversion left the Bulls within three points of the Lions, but they just could not access enough ball in the closing stages. Nevertheless, there were some tremendous hits from the likes of Danie Rossouw, Olivier and Wannenburg as it was the Lions who ended the match on attack.

The confidence is clearly growing in Eugene Eloff’s Lions outfit and they definitely sent out a warning to the other Currie Cup contenders. They showed that their game plan is certainly upgradable from a forward-dominated approach and they were willing to give the ball air to good effect on Friday night.

To win at Loftus Versfeld proves the Lions mean business.


Vodacom Blue Bulls
Tries: Zane Kirchner, Burton Francis, Pedrie Wannenburg.
Conversions: Morne Steyn (3).
Penalties: Steyn (2).

Xerox Lions
Tries: Willie Wepener (2), Jaco Pretorius, Franco van der Merwe.
Conversions: Earl Rose (2).
Penalties: Rose (2).


  • Lions beat Bulls, close gap on leaders AND MOST IMPORTANTLY prevent the cattle from running away on the log.

  • Comment 1, posted at 09.08.08 07:11:00 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • Not this guy’s best headline ever…we were 2 points behind to start off with, so we didn’t close any gaps…we just made the Bulls drop from 1st to 4th place, which was rather satisfying…always nice to walk around at Loftus with a Lions jersey after a Lions win!

  • Comment 2, posted at 09.08.08 08:02:56 by walter van transvaal.co.za Reply
    walter van Lions World
  • @walter van transvaal.co.za (Comment 2) :

    That is actually very true. I didn’t even think of that.

    I suppose you guy have a bit of an underachiever tag and it is not easy to shed that tag.

    Wepener has got himself into 3rd on the leading try scorers log for the CC with those two tries last night 😎

  • Comment 3, posted at 09.08.08 08:08:59 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • Wepener hangs on the wing a bit these days, not always to my liking for a tight five player but it’s seems to be working for his (and the Lions) try-count!

  • Comment 4, posted at 09.08.08 08:12:08 by walter van transvaal.co.za Reply
    walter van Lions World
  • So now we just need a top notch Bok performance today and a Protea victory to set up yet another awesome week.

  • Comment 5, posted at 09.08.08 08:16:13 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • I need a bit more…EG Jansen is playing Waterkloof in the semi-final of the Beeld-trofee at 11:00….I need a win for Jansen to make it a perfect weekend!

  • Comment 6, posted at 09.08.08 08:17:47 by walter van transvaal.co.za Reply
    walter van Lions World
  • @walter van transvaal.co.za (Comment 6) :

    Sorry have no clue on the local Gauteng rugby scene.

    What are the chances of your weekend being made perfect? :ink:

  • Comment 7, posted at 09.08.08 08:24:37 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • Jansen is unbeaten for the year, we are ranked the number 3 school in RSA and Waterkloof number 4, we are playing at home, and we’ve beaten them 34-22 earlier this year…chances must be better than 50-50?

  • Comment 8, posted at 09.08.08 08:28:51 by walter van transvaal.co.za Reply
    walter van Lions World
  • @walter van transvaal.co.za (Comment 8) :

    So it’s only Pietersen and his team that could mess up the weekend.

    Good Luck, Let’s hope Jansen wins.

  • Comment 9, posted at 09.08.08 08:41:25 by KSA Shark © Reply
    KSA Shark ©
  • I despise Waterkloof almost as much as I do Affies.

    Although quite enjoyed the performance of the Affies-Shark last night. Seems he’s finally getting it

  • Comment 10, posted at 09.08.08 08:58:44 by robdylan Reply
    Competition Winner Administrator
  • @walter van transvaal.co.za (Comment 6) : Walter, you deserve that big smile!! 😀

    The only bit of critisism from my side: The Lions badly stuffed up that huge lead they had at one stage, unlike the Sharks…. 😎

  • Comment 11, posted at 09.08.08 09:19:37 by Silver Fox Reply

    Silver Fox
  • @KSA Shark © (Comment 9) : KSA, took you long enough to come up with a real good funny. As Rob’s of the cat yesterday, did not think it got the credit it deserved. I need an applauding face here. I need not sent in any funny stuff. 😀

  • Comment 12, posted at 09.08.08 09:22:45 by Silver Fox Reply

    Silver Fox
  • I added the clip of the Jaco Pretorius try for download on my site if you want to have a look..it’s one of the best Outside Centre tries you will ever see…..


  • Comment 13, posted at 12.08.08 08:17:16 by walter van transvaal.co.za Reply

    walter van Lions World
  • Thanks for your trouble. I have downloaded the footage and the stuff you said you used, but everything here is over in blink of an eye. Any suggestions? I have just given someone a lovely opening for a jab at me here. 😕

  • Comment 14, posted at 12.08.08 08:51:43 by Silver Fox Reply

    Silver Fox
  • You have to install a codec to allow your media player of choice to play avi files.

  • Comment 15, posted at 12.08.08 09:49:52 by walter van transvaal.co.za Reply

    walter van Lions World
  • @walter van transvaal.co.za (Comment 15) : Did that. My media player does play it, but at a frightening speed!!

  • Comment 16, posted at 12.08.08 09:52:13 by Silver Fox Reply

    Silver Fox
  • After you have downloaded the codec, you also have to install it…I don’t specifically say that in my instructions so that’s probably the step you missed.

  • Comment 17, posted at 12.08.08 09:53:09 by walter van transvaal.co.za Reply

    walter van Lions World
  • @Silver Fox (Comment 16) :

    The clip is about 1 minute 20 seconds…and Jaco Pretorius ran fast, but I wouldn’t describe it as a frightening speed…what media player do you use?

  • Comment 18, posted at 12.08.08 09:55:12 by walter van transvaal.co.za Reply

    walter van Lions World

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