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Lions make up ground

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The teams scored one try piece in the second half but it was a successful penalty goal by the Lions’ replacement back Shaun Reynolds that finally secured victory

Lions hooker Malcolm Marx on attack against the Waratahs on Saturday. Picture: Chris Kotze BackpagePix

On a weekend where their local rivals in the SA conference suffered defeats, it was the Lions who made up lost ground with an important one-point win over the Brumbies in their Super Rugby match in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Lions snatch a one-point
win over Waratahs

The Lions survived some anxious moments late in their Super Rugby match against the Waratahs but managed to hold on for a close, hard-fought 29-28 win in Johannesburg on Saturday afternoon. Both teams scored four tries at Airline Park.

On a weekend when their South African Conference rivals: The Bulls, Sharks and Jaguares – all failed to win, it was the Highvelders who managed to register a vital victory, which allowed them to move away from the foot of the table into fourth place, above the Stormers, who were not in action this weekend.

The opening half was a fast, open affair with several missed tackles which led to three tries by both sides. The Waratahs converted all three of their tries which saw them go into half-time with a two-point advantage at 21-19.

The teams scored one try piece in the second half but it was a successful penalty goal by the Lions’ replacement back Shaun Reynolds that finally secured victory.

Chiefs strike late
to edge Sharks

The Sharks gave another impressive performance on the road but they, unfortunately, went down 29-23 to the Chiefs in Hamilton on Saturday morning (SA time) in their last Super Rugby tour match through Australasia.

It was an entertaining fixture between two evenly-matched teams, with the men from Waikato taking a 17-13 lead into the break through two tries and a penalty goal. The Chiefs eventually scored four tries, three conversions and a penalty goal, while the Durbanites replied with two converted tries and three penalty goals.

The Sharks did extremely well to play themselves back into a potentially winning position and led 23-17 with just under 20 minutes to go: The result of good defence, powerful forward surges and good tactical kicking from Bosch.

However, two quick tries in the last 13 minutes tilted the momentum and scoreboard in favour of the Kiwis.

Chiefs midfielder Anton Leonard-Brown dotted down before Brad Weber (scrumhalf) scored another try straight from the restart.

The Chiefs led 29-23 going into the final few minutes, but the Sharks turned over possession deep inside their own half, and in a tense finish, the visitors forced the men from Waikato to defend for 18 phases before Bosch made an unfortunate handling error after the full-time hooter.

The Sharks can be very pleased with the overall outcome of their three-match tour which started with a win over the Waratahs in Sydney and a draw against the Crusaders in Christchurch.

They now return to Durban for a well-earned break next weekend and then resume action when they host the Lions on May 25 in another big local derby.

Crusaders outplay
Bulls at Loftus

The Crusaders were in impressive form when they dismantled the Bulls with a 45-13 triumph in a Super Rugby clash at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Friday evening.

The defending champions scored four tries in the first half to lead by 26-6 at the break and proceeded to score three more in the second half for a commanding victory.

Crusaders flyhalf Richie Mo’unga gave a lively performance for the visitors while their speedy right wing Sevu Reece helped himself to a hat-trick of tries.

The first half was a fast and frantic affair and it was the Crusaders who made their intentions clear right from the start by speeding up play and not allowing the home side any time to settle. They used quick line-out throws to unsettle the hosts and clever kicks and passes to stretch the defence, while their finishing was also clinical.

The Bulls would not have been satisfied by this performance, on the eve of their four-match Australasian tour.