BLOEMFONTEIN, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 12: Willem Alberts and Tiaan Swanepoel of Golden Lions celebrating their try during the Carling Currie Cup match between Toyota Cheetahs and Xerox Golden Lions XV at Toyota Stadium on December 12, 2020 in Bloemfontein, South Africa. (Photo by Frikkie Kapp/Gallo Images)

Playing with 13 men after having two players red carded, EP’s gutsy Elephants put up a brave fight before three late tries allowed the Lions to surge to a 54-24 victory.

EP went into the game as massive underdogs and were able to hold their heads high when the final whistle sounded at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium. The Lions put some daylight between themselves and the home team right at the death with a try surge.

Reduced to 14 men after only two minutes when loose forward Arnold Kleyn was red-carded for a dangerous tackle, the Elephants refused to lie down.

There was more misery for EP after 52 minutes when CJ Velleman also received his matching orders.

As late as the 73rd minute, EP were still in the game when their captain Courtney Winnaar scored an intercept try.

As the game progressed it became more ill-tempered and referee AJ Jacobs warned both captains to tell their players to cut out the niggle. Though outnumbered, EP continued to take the fight to their opponents who struggled to find any continuity.

EP’s gutsy showing was well illustrated when hooker Robin Stevens scored a try for the home side in the 63rd minute against a frustrated Lions outfit.

It was another steep learning curve for a valiant young EP side who were more competitive than they were in their previous match when they were massacred 87-10 by the Bulls. EP got off to the worse possible start when Kleyn was red-carded. With the odds already stacked against them, the last thing EP needed was to be left a man short for almost the entire match.