Lions finish tour unbeaten after scrappy win
SUPER RUGBY REPORT: The Lions finished their Australian tour unbeaten after they edged the Brumbies 13-6 in Canberra on Friday.
The Lions scored the only try of the dour contest through Springbok Sevens star Albertus Smith early in the second half after trailing the Australian conference leaders 0-3 at half-time.
It was only the Johannesburg-based Lions' second win in Canberra, but a victory based on an outstanding defensive effort and a battle of wills.
It was the Lions' biggest scalp on their Australian tour following a 24-15 win over the Western Force and 47-10 triumph over the Melbourne Rebels.
"It was a grind. Gee, it was a tough battle, the conditions were tough, the ball was slippery and we had to keep it tight, so I am extremely proud of the boys," Lions skipper Warren Whiteley said.
"Credit to the Brumbies, they put us under pressure, they tested us at the set piece, it was a tough battle.
"We have got three wins on tour, it's a first for us and we're really proud of the team's performances over the last three weeks."
The stats bear out the Lions' stoic performance. They had just 40 percent possession, 44 percent territory and made 136 tackles.
The turning point came in the 54th minute when the Lions swooped on a loose pass inside their own half by Brumbies fullback Aidan Toua and Smith out-paced the defence in a 65-metre dash to the tryline.
Elton Jantjies kicked a conversion and a penalty while Andries Coetzee landed a penalty goal after the full-time siren.
The hard-fought four competition points protected the Lions' lead at the top of the Africa Conference Two from the Sharks and strengthens their chances of hosting a home quarterfinal.
It was the Brumbies' fourth straight defeat and yet somehow they still lead the mediocre Australian conference, with the Waratahs having a bye this weekend.
The Brumbies were their own worst enemy, conceding 17 turnovers, missing 11 tackles and making 10 handling errors.
"We just didn't capitalise on our opportunities," Brumbies captain Sam Carter said.
"We had plenty of line breaks and plenty of territory, but when it mattered we couldn't get the result, so you do that against quality opposition like the Lions and you're going to lose."
The Lions return home and will host the Bulls next weekend, while the Brumbies go on the road and face the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth.
Man of the match: It was hard to pick out a standout performer in this match However, Albertus Smith scored an amazing try which proved to be the difference in the end.
Pens: Hawera 2
Pen: Jantjies, A Coetzee
Brumbies: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 James Dargaville, 10 Wharenui Hawera, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Jordan Smiler, 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter (captain), 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Josh Mann-Rea, 1 Ben Alexander.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Abel, 17 Nic Mayhew, 18 Leslie Leulua'iali'i-Makin, 19 Blake Enever, 20 Ben Hyne, 21 De Wet Roos, 22 Jordan Jackson-Hope, 23 Tom Banks
Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Sylvian Mahuza, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Ruan Ackermann, 6 Albertus Smith, 5 Francois Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Johannes Jonker, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Corne Fourie.
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Robert Kruger, 21 Dillon Smit, 22 Jacques Nel, 23 Anthony Volmink.
Referee: Paul Williams
Assistant referees: Nick Briant, Jordan Way
TMO: Ian Smith