Lions maul brave Blues

2014-03-15 23:00

Rugby: The odds may have been stacked against them, but the home side launched a spirited fight to hold off visitors.

No sensible betting person would have put their money on the Lions to beat the Blues this season?–?but they did.

It was their first win against New Zealand opposition since their 26-22 win over the Highlanders in Dunedin in 2011.

Conceding five second-half tries is no joke and with the free-scoring Reds coming to Ellis Park on Saturday, the defensive lapses had to be addressed?–?and fast.

What turned out to be an exciting game came to life in the 31st minute when Blues tight head prop Charlie Faumuina was yellow-carded for his repeated maul infringements.

It took the Lions three minutes to capitalise on the numerical advantage but they finally scored when nippy scrum half Faf de Klerk barrelled over close to the line.

The try made the Lions roar and the second one came on the stroke of half-time through Courtnall Skosan, who benefited from excellent breakdown work from JW Jonker and the tireless Jaco Kriel.

But Skosan would turn into the defensive villain in the second half.

The Blues lost another man to ill discipline in Tom Donnelly and the Lions, with Marnitz Boshoff back at number 10, kept the scoreboard ticking.

This time the Lions could not make the most of the surplus and when the Blues were back to full strength, the first of five second-half tries was scored by Charles Piutau.

This was followed by Bryn Hall’s try straight after the restart as the Blues collected the ball from the kick-off and went the length of the field virtually untouched.

At 23-15, the Blues were back in the game but the Lions found some energy to respond with a try of their own through Coenie van Wyk although it took much deliberating from referee Stuart Berry.

In five minutes, three tries had been scored but that would be the last time the Lions would cross the whitewash.

The Blues decided to attack the right flank of the Lions and the home side was terribly exposed.

Frank Halai was the first to run over Skosan, with the move starting deep in the Blues half.

Hall was again at the heart of it with a 65m break from a line-out. George Moala then did the same to the hapless left-winger and the Blues were back in the game.

They did not bank on Boshoff’s accurate boot but they had time for one more try.

However, the Lions had done just enough, even though they made it a bit hard for themselves.

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