The MTN Golden Lions surged into the Vodacom Cup final after beating DHL Western Province 44-25 (half-time 18-14) at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Saturday.
The Golden Lions turned in a dominant second-half performance and they ran in six tries to two with Province kept in the game by the boot of flyhalf Kurt Coleman who succeeded with five penalties.
The result means that the Golden Lions will play the Steval Pumas in the final in Nelspruit on May 18.
Fullback Chrysander Botha scored two tries for the hosts while flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff kicked 14 points courtesy of four conversions, one penalty and a drop goal.
Boshoff and Coleman swapped early penalties but the hosts grabbed their first try, in the ninth minute, after their powerful forwards carried the ball deep into Province’s 22 which allowed outside centre Deon van Rensburg to slip over in the right-hand corner for a converted try.
Boshoff kicked a drop goal four minutes later before Coleman narrowed the gap with his second successful penalty of the contest,
However, the Lions were building up a head of steam and they extended their lead, in the 22nd minute, thanks to a superb try from right wing Deon Helberg who received the ball on Western Province’s 10-metre line before jinking his way past two defenders on his way to a converted score.
The Golden Lions had raced into an 18-6 lead but Province were slowly but surely working their way back into the contest and, 11 minutes, before the break, fullback Tim Swiel sliced through the hosts' defence to canter over from 22 metres out.
Coleman missed his conversion attempt but he succeeded with a 36th-minute penalty as the Lions went to the break holding a slender 18-14 lead.
The home team had dominated possession in the first-half and they were the first team to score in the second stanza when Helberg collected his own chip ahead from the Lions’ 10-metre line before off loading to Botha when he had already crossed the tryline allowing Botha to score a converted try.
Province narrowed the gap to just five points after 55 minutes thanks to two penalties from Coleman, but the Lions struck back once again when left wing Anthony Volmink chased through a speculative grubber kick before receiving a lucky bounce to gather the ball and go over for a converted try.
The home team were running rampant and flank Willie Britz dotted down before Botha scampered 70 metres down the left-hand touchline to grab his second try.
Western Province grabbed a late consolation try through replacement centre Kobus van Wyk.
MTN Golden Lions – Tries: Deon van Rensburg, Deon Helberg, Chrysander Botha (2), Anthony Volmink, Willie Britz; Conversions: Marnitz Boshoff (4); Penalty: Boshoff; Drop goal: Boshoff.
DHL Western Province – Tries: Tim Swiel, Kobus van Wyk; Penalties: Kurt Coleman (5).