Late penalty helps Stormers edge Lions in thriller
RAINBOW CUP REPORT: Replacement flyhalf Tim Swiel kicked an 83rd-minute penalty to help the Stormers edge the Lions 39-37 in their Rainbow Cup SA encounter in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Moments earlier, Dan du Plessis (centre) scored his second and the Stormers’ fifth try to put them a solitary point behind the home team, who looked to have sealed the win when Rabz Maxwane (wing) crossed for their fifth five-pointer in the 75th minute.
Leading by a solitary point, the Lions held onto the ball for a number of phases, but a transgression handed possession back to the visitors from Cape Town on the stroke of full-time.
After getting field position, another penalty against the home team gave Swiel the opportunity to finish a frantic match – that delivered 10 tries in total – in the 83rd-minute, with the Stormers taking the lead for the very first time.
The Lions were strong up front and looked composed for most of the match, scoring three of their five tries before the break for a well-deserved 22-15 lead after 40 minutes. They also managed to convert their opportunities into points, something they lacked last weekend.
Wandisile Simelane (centre), MJ Pelser (flanker) and EW Viljoen (fullback) crossed for the home team, while their young flyhalf, Jordan Hendrikse, added two conversions and a penalty goal to ensure the home team went into the break in control of the match.
First-half tries by Du Plessis and Springbok hooker Bongi Mbonambi ensured the Stormers stayed close to their opponents on the scoreboard and at the break, both teams would have felt they could still win it.
The visitors drew level five minutes into the second half though when Marcel Theunissen (flank) crossed for their third try, with Abner van Reenen (flyhalf) adding the extras.
But the Lions were far from outdone and Andre Warner (scrumhalf) got their fourth try in the 54th minute to put his side ahead by seven points yet again.
A disallowed try a few minutes later would have given the men from Johannesburg a proper lead, but the Stormers managed to stay in the hunt when Edwill van der Merwe (wing) scored a sensational individual try with 20 minutes to go.
Hendrikse put the Lions back into the lead with his second penalty goal with 10 minutes to go, before Maxwane’s try looked to seal the win for the home team, but the Stormers never gave up and 10 points in the final moments of the game gave them a much-needed victory.
Man of the match: The award goes to Lions flyhalf Jordan Hendrikse. The 19-year-old’s game management was outstanding and he contributed 12 points with the boot.
Tries: Simelane, Pelser, Viljoen, Warner, Maxwane
Cons: Hendrikse 3
Pens: Hendrikse 2
Tries: Du Plessis 2, Mbonambi, Theunissen, Van der Merwe
Cons: Van Reenen 2, Swiel 2
Pen: Van Reenen, Swiel
Lions: 15 EW Viljoen, 14 Rabz Maxwane, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Burger Odendaal (captain), 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Jordan Hendrikse, 9 André Warner, 8 Francke Horn, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 MJ Pelser, 5 Reinhard Nothnagel, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Sithembiso Sithole.
Replacements: 16 PJ Botha, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Asenathi Ntlabakanye, 19 Willem Alberts, 20 Emmanuel Tshituka, 21 Morné van den Berg, 22 Fred Zeilinga, 23 Dan Kriel.
Stormers: 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Dan du Plessis, 12 Rikus Pretorius, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Abner van Reenen, 9 Herschel Jantjies, 8 Evan Roos, 7 Willie Engelbrecht, 6 Marcel Theunissen, 5 David Meihuizen, 4 Ernst van Rhyn, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Steven Kitshoff (captain).
Replacements: 16 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 17 Allister Vermaak, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Ben-Jason Dixon, 20 Johan du Toit, 21 Juarno Augustus, 22 Paul de Wet, 23 Tim Swiel.
Referee: AJ Jacobs
Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge, Morne Ferreira
TMO: Cwengile Jadezweni
Additional source: SA Rugby