Rocco Jansen grabbed a brace of tries as GWK Griquas kept alive their hopes of a place in the Absa Currie Cup Premier Division semifinals with a feisty 37-21 (14-18) bonus-point victory over the MTN Golden Lions at GWK Park in Kimberley on Saturday.
Both scores by the sprightly winger were from turnovers, the first particularly impressive, with the hosts turning a four-point deficit at the break into a 16-point win at the end of a physical encounter in the diamond city.
The complete five log-points haul enabled Griquas to move into fourth place, while the table-topping Lions, who suffered a second loss of the season to Pote Human’s side, stay top, but can now be overhauled by the Sharks later on Saturday.
After a robust midfield battle during the opening stages, the Lions went in front via a Butch James penalty after nine minutes when the home side were caught off-side.
Francois Brummer should have leveled things up after 16 minutes, but pushed his attempt narrowly wide.
The men from Johannesburg extended their lead just as the opening quarter ticked over when James set up a line-out with a beautifully weighted kick that led to a five metre line-out on the right.
Franco van der Merwe collected nicely from Bandise Maku’s put-in, with flanker Cobus Grobbelaar doing the rest from an attacking maul.
The Lions grabbed their second try moments later when some superb running rugby ended in an inevitable score on the right, with lock Michael Rhodes collecting the final pass from Warren Whiteley on his way over.
Griquas finally found their stride just before the half-hour when they won a line-out after some good chasing by Jansen and prop Lourens Adriaanse powered his way over on the left.
And three minutes before the interval, Leon Karemaker grabbed a second try for his side, set up by the scrum and in particular a strong left shoulder by Lourens Adriaanse, with the big number eight collecting and going over.
But on the stroke of half time, Marnus Hugo needlessly went straight over the top to concede a penalty that was punted over by James as the Lions stretched their lead to four points.
After the restart a powerful Griquas scrum enabled them to win a penalty, which Brummer knocked over to bring the gap back to one, but he then missed a 52-metre kick that would have given his side the lead.
However, there was no missing from right in front after 54 minutes when the Lions were penalised for holding on as Griquas hit the front for the first time in the game.
James had a chance to put his side back in front moments later but missed, before one of the moments of the season thus far enabled the hosts to score a third try.
It happened in the 63rd minute when the Lions were on attack in the Griquas' 22-metre area, but the ball was turned over.
Brummer collected and booted long, with Jansen chasing brilliantly, picking up the ball inches from the left touchline and running a few metres before diving in.
James and Brummer exchanged further penalties, before Human’s men grabbed a late bonus point when Jansen sped down the left from inside his own half after another turnover to seal the win.
GWK GRIQUAS – Tries: Lourens Adriaanse, Leon Karemaker, Rocco Jansen (2). Conversions: Francois Brummer (4). Penalties: Brummer (3).
MTN GOLDEN LIONS – Tries: Cobus Grobbelaar, Michael Rhodes.
Conversion: Butch James. Penalties: James (3).