Lions could be set to roar

2015-05-27 06:00

LOAD-SHEDDING IS causing all kinds of concern, not to mention bloody-mindedness among the regulars at the members-only pub across the way from South Beach, round the corner from the lighthouse.

The big debate – besides the puzzling inaccuracy of the much-publicised load-shedding schedule – is the way the system is being allowed to interfere with the one thing (apart from Castle Lager, of course) that our little pub is famous for. It’s the “SV”, of course, which if you’re a fully paid up member you would know stands for the club’s ancient “Sports Viewing” TV facility.

Yes, it works most of the time. Indeed, it’s rumoured President Jacob Zuma himself is considering becoming a paid-up member for the odd occasion when he visits PE. But anyway here we were last Friday just before midday, on our third pint, elbows raised in the traditional vertical position, when BANG, the lights went out! Damn! Load-shedding, of course. Some two hours later everything was restored to normal, though several of us by then weren’t all that steady on our feet.

Then at last we learnt the Sharks had broken a six-match defeat streak by beating the Brisbane Reds 21-14. Only later would we see that with scores level at 14-apiece, the Sharks were granted the most incredible luck with Reds fullback James O’Connor cork-screwing a regulation relieving touch-kick into the unbelieving arms of Stefan Ungarer who, injured, was limping nearby.

Taking the ball in the belly without even the semblance of a knock-on, the scrumhalf was able somehow to limp across the tryline for the match’s defining moment and, with Frans Steyn’s conversion, the winning points. Later we would see some of the match – precious little – in a condensed version. This is the point. Surely TV’s “Super Sport” department, knowing how much the match and its result meant to rugby lovers, could have played the entire recording of the match over again? Viewers who pay good money to watch the Super Sport stations, one feels sure, would have appreciated the gesture.

Ah, well, enough. Let’s move on to two truly fine performances by the Lions (40-17 against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein) and the Stormers (31-15 against Australia’s Rebels at Newlands). In scintillating form Stormers backs, Damian de Allende and Dillyn Leyds (2) were the Capetonians’ try-scorers, with Demetri Catrakilis adding the remaining 16 points.

But the game of the day came from the Lions And their trouncing of the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein. The match was a triumph for coach Johan Ackermann and a team that continues to grow in stature, despite last week’s letdown against the Brumbies. There’s no doubt it was a team effort, but the halfback pairing of Elton Jantjies and Faf de Klerk was outstanding as were performances by Jaco Kriel, Marcell Coetzee and Lionel Mapoe. Hats off to Ackermann’s coaching: just two years ago the Lions weren’t even playing Super Rugby. Now, on 36 points on the combined log, they’re just two points behind the Stormers with a real chance of making the 2015 Super Rugby playoffs. How about that?

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