CAPE KINGS

CityPress - - Sport - DAN RETIEF dan.retief@city­press.co.za

More than 40 000 fans held their breath and then erupted into joy­ous cel­e­bra­tion as Mar­nitz Boshoff missed a last-gasp penalty that handed Western Prov­ince vic­tory in the 2014 Cur­rie Cup fi­nal.

The Lions had fought back from 13-0 down at the break to level the scores and with the clock edg­ing over 80 min­utes, Boshoff lined up a penalty from the far touch­line that might have tied the scores at 19-all.

But it was not to be for the nor­mally re­li­able kicker as his at­tempt hooked away to the left of the up­rights.

A cru­cial early er­ror by Lions scrum half Ross Cronje put Western Prov­ince on the front foot from the start.

Try­ing to clear the ball after a sloppy line-out with just a minute on the clock, Cronje had his at­tempted hoist over the top charged down by Carizza and im­me­di­ately put the Lions un­der pres­sure.

Tight games turn on small mar­gins and Prov­ince drew con­fi­dence from be­ing able to play up in the Lions’ half and start set­ting in mo­tion the ball-re­cy­cling se­quences that suited their pat­tern.

The Lions ap­peared jit­tery and the pres­sure of hav­ing to de­fend against wave after wave of blue-and-white hooped jer­seys pil­ing into them took its toll.

Demetri Ca­trak­ilis kicked two penal­ties to re­ward his for­wards for their strong play.

The Lions set­tled down and man­aged to get par­ity, but the usu­ally re­li­able Mar­nitz Boshoff was off-key and pulled away the first two penal­ties that came his way.

The Lions es­chewed a chance to get some points when Der­ick Min­nie quickly tapped a penalty to him­self, but was held up just short of the line, after Skosan had forced Ca­trak­ilis to carry the ball over, and Prov­ince seemed to gain con­fi­dence from hav­ing sur­vived the cri­sis.

Prov­ince ef­fec­tively em­ployed the All Blacks’ tac­tic of mov­ing the ball “one-away” from the for­wards to set up their drives and paid off by way of the open­ing try of the game.

Four­teen suc­ces­sive phases soaked up the Lions’ de­fend­ers and with an over­lap de­vel­op­ing, Mnisi shot up out of de­fence to try for a smother tackle but Ca­trak­ilis’ quick pass put Taute in pos­ses­sion and the big cen­tre stepped inside Mapoe to score.

Ca­trak­ilis’ con­ver­sion put the home-side in front, 130, and that was the lead at the break after Com­brinck missed a long-range penalty after the hooter.

How­ever what­ever it was that coach Jo­han Ack­er­mann told his charges in the dress­ing room seemed to work and within 17 min­utes the Lions were back on equal terms.

Boshoff started the fight­back with his first penalty and then full­back Jaco van der Walt sparked a bril­liant counter from deep be­fore be­ing on the end of Cronje’s blind­side snipe to dive over in the cor­ner.

Boshoff kicked the touch­line con­ver­sion and mo­ments later a penalty to make it 13-13 as the Lions started to find their pass­ing and sup­port­ing ac­cu­racy to out­flank the big Prov­ince loosies.

Prov­ince, how­ever, seemed to re­alise the dan­ger of al­low­ing the Lions the free­dom to play and a strong tackle by El­stadt and Rhodes on Boshoff forced the penalty that Ca­trak­ilis goaled to snatch back the lead and mo­ments later the Lions again erred in front and paid the price (19-13).

With the clock run­ning down, Com­brinck goaled a penalty from just inside Prov­ince’s half to make it 19-16.

This caused ref­eree Craig Jou­bert to warn Western Prov­ince for time-wast­ing as they tried to keep their lead for two min­utes more.

PHO­TOS: DENVOR DE WEE

COM­ING THROUGH

Nizaam Carr storms through a group of Golden Lions play­ers dur­ing the Cur­rie Cup fi­nal at New­lands yes­ter­day

GO­ING UP Kobus van Wyk (left) and

Mar­nitz Boshoff in ac­tion dur­ing

the Cur­rie Cup fi­nal at

New­lands

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