Pressure on Lions ahead of semifinal

Meshack Khotha

Meshack Khotha

The Lions must beat Western Province in their last game of the season in Cape Town on Saturday if they hope to qualify for this year's Absa Currie Cup semifinals.

This comes after the Sharks embarassed them with a convincing 34-20 victory at Ellis Park Stadium on Saturday. The log leaders Sharks with 52 points, second-placed the Blue Bulls with 49 points have secured home semifinal games.

The Lions are lying third on the log with 41 points, four points ahead of defending champions Cheetahs (37) followed by the Western Province with 36 points.

Unforeseen errors and slipshod ball distributions in the second stage largely contributed to the Lions' downfall after a remarkable start in the first 40 minutes.

After enjoying a 8-3 lead at interval through Trompie Notshinga's try and Earl Rose's penalty kick, the Lions' supporters were convinced that their idols were on their path to a win.

After a pep-talk from coach John Plumtree, the Sharks came out with an effective game plan that successfully earned them 27 point in this half while the hosts netted 12.

The Sharks scorers: Tries: JP Pietersen (2), Dean Carstens and Jean Deysel. Ruan Pienaar converted four times and two penalties.

The Lions: Tries: Nontshinga, Heinke van der Merwe and Ernest Joubert. Conversion: Louis Strydom: Penalty: Earl Rose.

* On Friday night at Brakpan Stadium, the Cheetahs raised their hopes of defending their title with a run-away 78-7 triumph over a listless Valke.

Springbok wing Jongi Nokwe, whose darting runs on the left flank were a marvel to watch, slotted home three tries.

Other tries scorers were Tewis de Bruyn and JW Jonker (a brace each), Duanne Vermeulen and Kabamba Floors.

Penalties; Heinrich Brussow, Jacques-Louis Potgieter. Conversions: Potgieter (8) and de Bruyn. The Valke points came through Ryno Barnes (try) and Jeff Perkins (conversion).

Other results: Western Province 23, Kavaliers; Blue Bulls.58, Griquas 22.