Coach-less "cats" triumph in New Zealand, while Aussies beat Stormers and Sharks
The Lions emerged as the only winning side of the South African Conference in this weekend’s Super Rugby action thanks to their gripping away win in Waikato over the weekend, while the Stormers and Sharks were handed defeats in Cape Town and Durban respectively.
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.
Whiteley joined the team last weekend in New Zealand after his return from a lengthy injury lay-off 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.
The Lions 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 the South Africans’ 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 a 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
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 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 half-time.
Robbie Fleck’s team enjoyed the majority of possession and territory but they were unable to convert their many opportunities into points, and they will probably also regret turning down several penalty kicks.
The Brumbies, in turn, finished off their scoring opportunities and put in a massive defensive effort.
The Stormers face the Bulls at home next Saturday while the Brumbies fly out to Argentina for their meeting with the Jaguares.
Other weekend results:
Sunwolves 23-29 Hurricanes
Highlanders 24-12 Blues
Waratahs 23-20 Rebels
African News Agency (ANA)