Stokkies Hanekom ran in a hat-trick of tries as the Xerox Golden Lions XV upset the Griquas 52-37 (halftime 21-21) in their provincial tournament clash at the Johannesburg Police Rugby Club at Marks Park on Saturday. Outside centre Hanekom scored three of the Golden Lions’ seven tries with replacement back JW Bell grabbing a brace of tries while flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff kicked seven conversions and a penalty for a personal haul of 17 points. The Griquas did have the consolation of claiming a bonus point for scoring four tries with left wing Alshaun Bock scoring a brace of his own. The Griquas came into the match having lost only one of their first nine games while the Golden Lions had won just three of their eight matches.
The hosts started in fine form with Hanekom grabbing two tries in the first 14 minutes as the Golden Lions opened up a 14-0 lead. The Griquas opened their account in the 18th minute when Bock dotted down for a converted score. But the Golden Lions had built up a head of steam and fullback Shaun Reynolds dotted down in the corner with Boshoff slotting the difficult conversion as the hosts extended their lead to 21-7 after 22 minutes. The Griquas fought their way back into the contest as fullback AJ Koertzen scored a converted try before Bock went over for his second try of the contest with flyhalf Andre Swarts kicking the conversion as the visitors levelled the scores five minutes before halftime as the teams reached the break locked at 21-21.
The Griquas made an excellent start to the second half with tight head prop Stephan Kotze running in a try after a loose pass had been intercepted. Swarts kicked a penalty to extend the lead to 10 points before the home team struck back thanks to a converted try from lock Lourens Erasmus.
Swarts kicked a second penalty but the Golden Lions grabbed the lead once again when Hanekom completed his hat-trick in the 62nd minute with Boshoff’s conversion giving the hosts a one-point lead before Boshoff slotted a penalty to give the Lions a bit of breathing space. Swarts cut the gap to just one point again with a penalty but the Golden Lions made sure of the win when Bell scored a converted try in the 73rd minute before he grabbed a second try with just a minute left in the contest.
Xerox Golden Lions XV – Tries: Stokkies Hanekom (3), Shaun Reynolds, Lourens Erasmus, JW Bell (2); Conversions: Marnitz Boshoff (7); Penalty: Boshoff.
Griquas – Tries: Alshaun Bock (2), AJ Koertzen, Stephan Kotze; Conversions: Andre Swarts (3); Penalties: Swarts (3).