Lions (rugby union) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Saturday saw the Lions take on the Rebels at Coca-Cola Park (Ellis Park) in what might well have been their last game at home in Super Rugby untill 2015. It might not have been a capacity crowd that came out to watch the Lions, but the handful of spectators that did come were treated to some good rugby. Yes there were moments of pure brilliance as well as moments of utter failure for both sides, yet the running rugby that was displayed made up for this. The crowd, including myself and my two daughters of 6 years and 5 weeks respectively, supported the Lions till the end. It might well have been the substitutes, according to Johan Ackermann, that pulled it through for the Lions, but I believe the support from the crowd made a big difference in the end.
The Lions started the game with good control on attack and had the Rebels scrambling in defence as they tried to stop the Lions in the first 30 or so minutes of the game. The first of the Lions 4 tries came after they spread the ball wide and Lionel Mapoe and Waylon Murray passed the ball between them before Murray went over for the opening try. Derick Minnie was next to go over after 13 phases of play saw him bounce off a couple of tackles before crashing over for the try. Jantjies added a penalty and then Minnie spotted some space after a line-out move and he scored his second of the night. The Rebels hit back just before the break with a try from Ged Robinson.
The second half started for the Rebels much as the first half did for the Lions and they controlled the first 20 minutes or so and came back into the game with gusto. Hugh Pyle went over for 2 tries shortly after the break before Julian Huxley and Elton Jantjies exchanged a penalty a piece. James Hilgendorf took the Rebels into the lead as he scored after charging down a Jantjies clearance kick. The supporters were not happy as replays showed that the ball might have been knocked on in the process of scoring the try. The TMO however awarded the try and the Lions were on the back foot. Huxley extended the Rebels lead before the Lions mounted a comeback effort.
Replacement scrumhalf, Micheal Bondiseo made a sniping blind side break before offloading the ball to Jaco Kriel. Kriel went over in the corner to score the winning try. Jantjies converted the try to finish with 7/7 kicks. His record makes one wonder why he wasn’t brought on in the last test against England when Morne Steyn was clearly struggling to kick the goals. In the end a well deserved win by the Lions and one just hopes that SARU will keep their heads and keep Super Rugby at Ellis Park. It is still one of the best stadiums in South Africa to go and watch rugby at. I know I will miss going to Super Rugby at this venue.
The Lions travel to Pretoria next week to face the Bulls in their last game of the competition while the Rebels will go in hunt of their first win on South African soil against the Stormers.
Ellis Park Stadium (Photo credit: Charles Heiman - iMedi8 Photographic)
Lions – Tries: Waylon Murray, Derrick Minnie (2), Jaco Kriel. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (4). Penalties: Jantjies (3).
Rebels – Tries: Ged Robinson, Hugh Pyle (2), James Hilgendorf. Conversions: Julian Huxley (4). Penalties: Huxley (2)
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