Lions see off late Kings surge
Lions see off late Kings surgeSHARE
The Lions bounced back from their loss to the Bulls last weekend with a 41-31 win over the Southern Kings at Ellis Park on Saturday.
If this was a preview of that vital match in July when these two teams meet in a promotion-relegation match, there was a time when it seemed that the Southern Kings would have just one season in Super Rugby as the Lions dominated possession, territory and scoring.
But then as substitutes wandered onto the field and the game became scrappy, the Kings came back and it was astonishing to see them just a meagre three points behind after trailing 34-14 at the hour-mark.
Earlier in the game the Lions sparkled with changes of direction, clever offloads and control. But eventually they relied on a bludgeoning maul to win the match.
After Friday night's electric storm it was a pleasant afternoon at Ellis Park with 18 779 in the stands to support the Lions. There was dancing and then a sombre moment of silence in memory of Jan Ellis, the magnificent Springbok who ended his playing career with Transvaal as the Lions once were.
The Lions were first to attack and could well have scored if Marnitz Boshoff, a casual kicker, had not missed a sitter. The Kings dropped out and Lionel Cronje set up a sharp attack down the right.
Wesley Dunlop kicked a long touch and Andries Coetzee took a quick throw, but Boetie Britz had wandered downfield and was penalised. It was a much harder kick than his first one but Boshoff scored – 3-0 after 16 minutes.
From a quick throw-in from touch the Kings went right. Lizo Gqoboko passed to Darron Nell who passed to Rynier Bernado who gave back inside to Nell who scored an easy try. After 21 minutes the Kings led 7-3 but it did not last long.
Siyanda Grey dropped the long kick-off and the Lions bashed at the visitors' line till Hendrik Roodt just got over – 10-7 after 22 minutes.
Stokkies Hanekom and then Coetzee had good opportunities for the Lions who had all of the game. Then, after Boshoff was short with a long-range drop, the Lions countered from the drop-out. Hanekom was brilliant and JJ Breet had an overlap on the far right and scored – 15-7 after 31 minutes.
Lionel Cronje kicked a penalty a long way downfield. The Lions won the line-out, mauled and Ruan Dreyer scored the try which Boshoff converted – 22-7 after 36 minutes.
The Lions were close again as they attacked on the left and Dylan de Fountain threaded a grubber into the Kings' in-goal where Boshoff got the ball and grounded it, but on touch-in-goal.
Early in the second half, the Lions repeated the dose of penalty, line-out, maul and try, this time by Roodt.
Then the Lions grew untidy and the Kings had a burst of possession. They had a five-metre line-out but lost it, as they did twice in the match. But then they won a line-out outside the Lions 22 and Daniel Adongo played straight down to lively Johan Herbst who darted inside Jacques van Rooyen and made straight for the posts – 27-14 after 50 minutes.
The Lions did it again and Warwick Tecklenberg scored. Lionel Cronje converted – 34-14 after 60 minutes.
Then the Kings attacked and Herbst darted from a tackle/ruck and scored.George Whitehead converted -34-21 after 65 minutes.
Hanekom got over but the TMO was able to tell the referee that there had been a knock-on, which gave the Kings a scrum five metres from their line. Shunted, they got the ball back from the scrum and the next stoppage in play was a try by Hadleigh Parkes for the Kings. That made it 34-28 with nine minutes to play. A penalty made it 34-31 with six minutes to play.
It was exciting but then the Lions went through their familiar routine – penalty, five-metre line-out, maul and try, again by Tecklenberg – 41-31 with less than a minute to play.
Man of the Match: In the last part of the match substitute Thabo Mamojelle was a magnificent ball of energy for the Kings and throughout Elric van Vuuren was strong and creative. For the Lions there were fine performances by Stokkies Hanekom, Lionel Cronje and our Man of the Match, bustling lock Hendrik Roodt.
For the Lions:
Tries: Roodt 2, Breet, Dreyer, Tecklenberg 2
Cons: Boshoff 3, Cronje
For the Southern Kings:
Tries: Bernado, Herbst 2, Parkes
Cons: Dunlop 2, Whitehead 2
Yellow cards: Wayne Stevens (Kings, 42), Thomas Leonardi (Kings, 58)
Lions: 15, Marnitz Boshoff, 14 Andries Coetzee, 13 Stokkies Hanekom, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Derick Minnie, 7 JJ Breet, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Francois Du Toit, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg (captain).
Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Gavin Annandale, 19 Warwick Tecklenberg, 20 Whestley Moolman, 21 Deon Helberg, 22 Ruhan Nel, 23 Dylan de Fountain
Southern Kings: 15 Elric van Vuuren, 14 Marcello Sampson, 13 Wayne Stevens, 12 Hadleigh Parkes, 11 Siyanda Grey, 10 Wesley Dunlop, 9 Johan Herbst, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Mpho Mbiyozo, 6 Tomas Leonardi, 5 Darron Nell (captain), 4 Rynier Bernado, 3 Grant Kemp, 2 Boetie Britz, 1 Lizo Gqoboko.
Replacements: 16 Dane van der Westhuizen, 17 Khwezi Mkhafu, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Daniel Adongo, 20 Thabo Mamojelle, 21 Scott Mathie, 22 George Whitehead, 23Scott van Breda.
Referee: Marius Jonker
Assistant referees: Lesego Legoete, Eduan Nel
TMO: Johan Greeff