Cape Town - The Lions emerged as the only winning side of the South African Conference in this weekend’s Vodacom Super Rugby action thanks to their gripping away win in Waikato on Friday morning.
Warren Whiteley made an immediate impact on his return to the Lions side that scored a superb 23-17 win over the Chiefs. The Sharks fell to another disappointing home loss when the Reds won their Friday afternoon clash 21-14. The next day, the Stormers went down by 19-17 to the Brumbies despite dominating possession and territory for large parts of the game.
Lions hit back with impressive away win
Springbok No 8 Warren Whiteley gave an inspired performance on his return to action to lead the Lions to a superb 23-17 triumph over the Chiefs in Hamilton on Friday morning.
He joined the team last weekend in New Zealand after his return from a lengthy injury layoff and his timely inclusion in the Joburg side was just the tonic they needed after two previous losses.
The Highvelders won despite disruptions in the week, which saw Courtnall Skosan returning home to be with his seriously ill father and coach Swys de Bruin also flying back for personal reasons.
They went into the half-time break with a well-deserved 20-0 lead following an impressive display which delivered two converted tries scored by big front ranker Carlu Sadie and Springbok wing Aphiwe Dyantyi. Elton Jantjies slotted both conversions and two penalty goals.
With Malcolm Marx, Marvin Orie and returning skipper Whiteley all impressive it was the red jerseys who completely dominated the opening half. Jantjies gave a solid performance in midfield from where he directed the backline play intelligently whilst also delivering a polished kicking display.
The Chiefs couldn’t find a way through their defence for a full hour of play, however, a fortunate break set in motion a passage of play which resulted in three tries for the Waikato side as they quickly clawed their way back. Sean Wainui, Nepo Laulala, Tumua Manu were the scorers.
The Joburg team held their nerve to keep the rampant Chiefs at bay and Jantjies added drop goal at the end for their only points of a gripping second half. The Lions will now play the Crusaders next Friday in Christchurch.
Reds stump Sharks in Durban
Despite a huge fighting effort in the latter stages of the game, the Sharks went down 21-14 to the Reds in another disappointing home display in front of the Durban faithful.
The Durbanites suffered a second loss in as many weeks at home following last week’s loss to the Jaguares and in this instance they again let themselves down with a lack of patience on attack and too many handling errors. The Reds led 14-7 at the break thanks to their two opportunistic tries.
Bryce Hegarty caught the home team out cold with his try in the first minute when he dotted down for a 7-0 start and he was quickly followed over the line by Chris Feauai-Sautia. Kerron van Vuuren scored for the hosts when he crashed over under a heap of bodies from a driving maul.
Tate McDermott (Reds) and Dan du Preez Sharks) each scored tries in the second half and while the black jerseys fought back hard it was the Reds who clinched it in the end.
The Durban team now travels to Australia where they will play the Waratahs in Sydney next week, followed by clashes against the Crusaders in Christchurch and Chiefs in Waikato.
Stormers stumble against Brumbies in Cape Town
It was not a good homecoming for the Stormers as the Brumbies came out on top by 19-17 in their Saturday afternoon clash in Cape Town. The Brumbies led 12-10 at halftime.
Robbie Fleck’s team enjoyed the majority of possession and territory but they were unable to convert their many opportunities into points, and they also turned down several penalty kicks. The Brumbies, in turn, finished off their scoring opportunities and put in a massive defensive effort.
Pete Samu handed the Aussies the lead when he went over as early as the sixth minute. Josh Stander, the Stormers’ flyhalf, then put the home team’s first points on the scoreboard with a penalty goal. Rory Arnold, who also had a hand in their first try, scored from his own charge down for the Brumbies’ second try to hand them a 12-3 advantage.
There was drama at the end of the first half when a high tackle by winger Toni Pulu on scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies, who was on his way to the try line, resulted in a penalty try to the Cape side. That seven pointer brought the home team to within just two points of the visitors.
The huge frame of Springbok prop Wilco Louw crashed over for the hosts’ third try of the afternoon to hand them the lead (17-12) for the first time in the match five minutes after halftime. However, they were unable to add to that score although they came close on many occasions.
Tom Banks, the visiting fullback, then scored the winning try in the 57th minute when he went over out wide following a patient build up. The Stormers face the Bulls at home next Saturday while the Brumbies fly out to Argentina for their meeting with the Jaguares.
Other Round 10 results of the weekend
Sunwolves 23, Hurricanes 29
Highlanders 24, Blues 12
Waratahs 23, Rebels 20