Golden Lions win Vodacom Cup
The Golden Lions convincingly beat the Pumas 42-28 in the final of the Vodacom Cup at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Friday to become the most successful team in the history of the competition.
Lions fly-half Marnitz Boshoff scored 27 points to ensure his team ran out deserved victors.
The Lowveld-born had 10 successful kicks at goal, which included a late drop goal to further emphasise his tremendous performance.
An early penalty by Carl Bezuidenhout opened the scoring before Lions lock Hendrik Roodt was shown a yellow card for dangerous play.
The visitors were immediately made to pay after some slick hands sent centre Stefan Watermeyer away for a try, which Bezuidenhout duly converted for a 10-0 lead.
The Lions were sparked back to life when winger Anthony Volmink scored a try, with Boshoff successfully kicking the conversion.
Volmink had taken his season tally to 13 tries with his try, and deservedly head the try-scoring table.
Boshoff levelled the scores with a penalty after Pumas prop Ivann Espag was blown for collapsing a maul.
Bezuidenhout then kicked a cheeky grubber to create a try for fullback Coenie van Wyk and proceeded to convert the five-pointer to restore the lead with 18 minutes gone.
Lions scrumhalf Michael Bondesio made a run off the back off a scrum to nearly score himself, before captain Warren Whiteley went over the tryline.
Boshoff kicked the conversion to level the scores yet again with 26 minutes gone in the match.
Nine minutes later Pumas flanker Jaco Bouwer was penalised for going offside, and Boshoff's penalty conversion gave the Lions the lead for the first time in the match.
Boshoff then succeeded with a 51 metre penalty conversion to hand the Johannesburg-based side a 23-17 lead.
The final score of the half belonged to Bezuidenhout after he succeeded with his second penalty to take the scores to 23-20 to the Lions going into the break.
The first points of the second half belonged to the Lions when Bouwer was penalised again and Boshoff made no mistake with the resulting penalty.
Boshoff extended the lead to nine points after a Pumas high tackle, while Bezuidenhout kept his side in the game with a penalty goal of his own.
The Lions flyhalf kicked his sixth penalty before a superb break by replacement scrumhalf Ross Cronje saw another Mbombela-born player, Warwick Tecklenburg, go over for a crucial try.
Bosshoff converted the try to hand his side a 39-23 lead with less than 10 minutes left on the clock.
Jerome Pretorius scored a consolation try for the Pumas in the 75th minute.
Bezuidenhout, however, missed the conversion before Boshoff ended proceedings with a drop goal.
The Lions have now won the Vodacom Cup five times, improving the four-title record they had shared with the Griquas.
For the Golden Lions:
Tries: Anthony Volmink, Warren Whiteley, Warwick Tecklenburg.
Cons: Marnitz Boshoff 3
Pens: Boshoff 6
Drop goal: Boshoff.
For the Pumas:
Tries: Stefan Watermeyer, Coenie van Wyk, Jerome Pretorius.
Cons: Carl Bezuidenhout 2
Pens: Bezuidenhout 3