Another win for the Lions, but only just. A last ditch penalty excellently taken by replacement James Hook was needed to ensure the Lions retained their 100% win rate going into the all important final week before the first Test.
In extremely difficult conditions due to the swirling wind, Hook had missed a previous attempt at goal but confidently stepped up to have another shot when the chance arose.
Coach Ian McGeechan was pleased with the character the Lions showed in grinding out another win, and still insists that the test side will not be finalised until after Tuesday’s match against the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth.
Western Province played a kicking game in the difficult conditions at Newlands with fly half Willem De Waal and full back Joe Pietersen applying territorial pressure over the Lions.
Lions fly half Stephen Jones had trouble with the tricky conditions and failed to put in a display worthy of a test place and with James Hook coming on late to steal the headlines, it looks as though Jones may well have lost his place.
Plusses for the Lions included another typically excellent performance by nailed on winger Tommy Bowe who scored a well taken try and setting up another for his wing partner Ugo Monye who, in tricky conditions, may well have also catapulted himself into a test berth.
The biggest area of concern for the Lions looking ahead was the loss of full back Rob Kearney. Kearney had been playing well looking calm and composed under the high ball, but he was replaced on 66 minutes by Hook when he failed to recover from a knock minutes before.
All in all, a win is a win and the Lions will take good spirit from what was always going to be a tricky encounter with Western Province. And now it’s on to the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Port Elizabeth for the final warm up game before the test matches begin.