The MTN Golden Lions will host the defending Absa Currie Cup champions, The Sharks, in the final next Saturday after both took advantage of hosting their respective semi-finals yesterday.
In the first semi-final The Sharks, who finished second on the log, staged a strong second-half comeback to beat the Toyota Free State Cheetahs by 20-13 at Mr Price Kings Park in Durban.
The MTN Golden Lions made sure they will host their first final in Johannesburg since 2002 by beating DHL Western Province by 29-20 in the second semi-final at Coca-Cola Park.
In the Absa U21 and U19 A-Divisions, the Blue Bulls comfortably won their semi-finals. They will face the Golden Lions U19s and Sharks U21s in next weekend’s finals, also to be played at Coca-Cola Park in Johannesburg as curtain raisers to the Absa Currie Cup final.
The Sharks 20 (3) Toyota Free State Cheetahs 13 (13)
It took a strong second half performance for the defending Absa Currie Cup champions to win their semi-final against a spirited Toyota Free State Cheetahs side, but in the end The Sharks simply made the most of their opportunities as they ran out 20-13 winners.
The visitors started like a house on fire and lead 13-0 after 24 minutes, with fullback Hennie Daniller scoring a try and flyhalf Johan Goosen adding two penalty goals and a conversion.
During this time The Sharks could not get their game going. They missed two relatively easy penalties in the first 20 minutes and it was only four minutes before the break that they got on the board, thanks to a penalty goal by Pat Lambie.
The half time score was 13-3 to the Free Staters, but it was a different Sharks team that took to the field in the second half. They played with much more intent and starved the Cheetahs of ball.
The visitors also seemingly lost their attacking edge, such a vital cog in their make up this year, mainly because of too many unforced errors. These proved costly in 40 minutes of rugby during which the Cheetahs saw very little of the ball.
With Tendai Mtawarira (loosehead prop) and Odwa Ndungane (right wing) crossing for tries in the first 15 minutes after the break, both converted by Lambie, who looked good when he replaced Frederic Michalak at flyhalf, The Sharks took the game by the scruff of the neck and made sure they qualified for their second successive Absa Currie Cup final.
In the end, The Sharks enjoyed 67% possession and had 58% territorial advantange. The Cheetahs had to make more than double the amount of tackles than their hosts and conceded 11 penalties to the KwaZulu-Natalians’ 8.
The Sharks – Tries: Tendai Mtawarira, Odwa Ndungane. Conversions: Pat Lambie (2). Penalties: Lambie (2).
Toyota Free State Cheetahs – Try: Hennie Daniller. Conversion: Johan Goosen. Penalties: Goosen (2).
The Sharks: 15 Pat Lambie, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Stefan Terblanche, 12 Marius Joubert, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Conrad Hoffman, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Keegan Daniel (captain), 5 Ross Skeate, 4 Jean Deysel, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira. Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Eugene van Staden, 18 Marcell Coetzee, 19 Jacques Botes, 20 Ross Cronje, 21 Adrian Jacobs, 22 Lwazi Mvovo.
Toyota FS Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Ryno Benjamin, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Cameron Jacobs, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Boom Prinsloo, 7 Ashley Johnson, 6 Pieter Labuschagne, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Philip van der Walt, 3 WP Nel, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Marcel van der Merwe. Replacements: 16 Hercu Liebenberg, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 Johan Wessels, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Nico Scheepers.
MTN Golden Lions 29 (19) DHL Western Province 20 (12)
The MTN Golden Lions showed why they finished top of the Absa Currie Cup log with a composed display to beat DHL Western Province by 29-20 and clinch their first home final in nine years.
The Golden Lions were in complete control of this match at Coca-Cola Park in Johannesburg from start to finish and outscored the visitors by two tries to one, with both flyhalves, Elton Jantjies and Demetri Catrakilis, slotting five penalty goals each to keep the score board ticking over.
Until the 33rd minute it was basically the Jantjies and Catrakilis Show as the two young pivots kicked the one penalty goal after the other, with the Lions having the better of this kicking duel and leading 12-9.
Then Jaco Taute (fullback) crossed for the first try of the match after a good piece of attacking play by the Lions. Jantjies’ conversion and a fourth penalty goal by Catrakilis saw the home team lead by 19-12 at the break.
The Golden Lions got their second try after eight minutes of play in the second half when left wing Michael Killian intercepted and outsprinted the cover defence to cross in the left corner. With Jantjies converting from the sideline, the home team took a handy 26-12 lead.
They never relinquished their grip on the game, even though Juan de Jongh (replacement centre) scored for the visitors, and were deserved winners in the end.
MTN Golden Lions – Tries: Jaco Taute, Michael Killian. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (2). Penalties: Jantjies (5).
DHL WP – Try: Juan de Jongh. Penalties: Demetri Catrakilis (5).
MTN Golden Lions: 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Doppies la Grange, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Michael Killian, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Josh Strauss (captain), 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Wikus van Heerden, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 CJ van der Linde. Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Jacobie Adriaanse, 18 Warren Whiteley, 19 Cobus Grobbelaar, 20 Butch James, 21 Dylan des Fountain, 22 James Kamana.
DHL Western Province: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 JJ Engelbrecht, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Nick Koster, 7 Siya Kolisi, 6 Schalk Burger (captain), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Adriaan Fondse, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 JC Kritzinger. Replacements: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Frans Malherbe, 18 Tertius Daniller, 19 Pieter Louw, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Juan de Jongh, 22 Conrad Jantjes.
Absa Under-19 A Division Semi-finals
Blue Bulls 48 (10) Free State 13 (10) – in Pretoria
Blue Bulls – Tries: Tony Jantjies, Barend Jakobus Erasmus Wessels, Christopher Bosch, Rudi van Rooyen, Wiaan Liebenberg, William Small-Smith. Conversions: Jantjies (6). Penalty: Jantjies. Drop goal: Jantjies.
Free State – Try: Siphosethu Tom. Conversion: Daniel Rudolf Marais. Penalty: Marais. Drop goal: Kay-Kay Hlongwane.
Golden Lions 32 (20) Western Province 27 (13) – in Johannesburg
Golden Lions – Tries: Paul Willemse (2), Ruaan Stephen Lerm, Vian van der Watt. Conversions: David Schmidt (3). Penalties: Schmidt (2).
Western Province – Tries: Craig Barry (2), Carlo Hector Theron. Conversions: Dillyn Yullrich Leyds (3). Penalties: Leyds (2).
Absa Under-21 A Division Semi-finals
Blue Bulls 47 (20) Golden Lions 18 (11) – in Pretoria
Blue Bulls – Tries: Arno Botha, CJ Stander, Francois Venter, Jono Ross, Lohan Jacobs, Sampie Mastriet. Conversions: Louis Fouche (3), Willie du Plessis. Penalties: Fouche (2). Drop goal: Fouche.
Golden Lions – Tries: Andries Coetzee, Anthony Alfred Volmink. Conversion: Hein Cronje. Penalties: Cronje (2).
Western Province 12 (9) Sharks 19 (10) – in Cape Town
Western Province – Penalties: Kurt Coleman (4).
Sharks – Try: Sibusiso Sithole. Conversion: Gouws Prinsloo. Penalties: Prinsloo (4).
Absa Under-19 promotion/relegation
South Western Districts 18 (10) Griffons 14 (5) – in George
SWD – Tries: Stuart Boliter, Jerome Fillies. Conversion: Chris Willemse. Penalty: Willemse. Drop goal: Willemse.
Griffons – Try: Paul Lehoko. Penalties: Franklyn Christiano Andre Booysen, Ryno Venter. Drop goal: Venter.
Absa Under-21 promotion/relegation
Valke 20 (10) Border 22 (13) – in Kempton Park
Valke – Try: Stefanus Johannes van Staden. Conversion: Morne du Plessis. Penalties: Juan Kotze, Du Plessis.
Border – Try: Louis Johannes Kruger. Conversion: Kruger. Penalties: Kruger (5).