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Lions miss chance to snatch victory at the death in Pretoria

URC REPORT: The Bulls climbed to fourth in the United Rugby Championship standings with a thrilling 30-28 win over the Lions in their Round Nine clash in Pretoria on Saturday.

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After a see-saw battle throughout the 80 minutes, the Lions had a chance to snatch victory with a late long-range penalty. However, Jordan Hendrikse’s kick went wide of the uprights.

Both teams scored three tries in the match with Johan Goosen’s boot proving to be the big difference.

It was a fantastic start for the Lions and it all started with some magic from Sanele Nohamba.

After receiving the ball deep inside his own half, the flyhalf broke through the Bulls’ defence and sprinted downfield before feeding the ball to Quan Horn.

The fullback managed to offload the ball to Marius Louw who had enough power to carry himself to the tryline in the fifth minute.

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The Bulls got their first points of the game in the 13th minute with a Goosen penalty.

After missing his conversion earlier in the game, Nohamba then missed a penalty in the 16th minute.

However, the Lions did extend their lead in the 18th minute when they caught the Bulls napping at line-out time.

After a long throw-in, captain Louw gathered the ball and sprinted through the Bulls’ defence with ease to score his team’s second try. This time Nohamba was successful with the conversion.

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The Bulls got a bit more of the ball after that and after some sustained pressure inside the Lions’ 22, Akker van der Merwe crashed over for a try with Goosen converting.

The home side then took the lead for the first time in the game in the 38th minute with a Goosen penalty.

At half-time, it was 13-12 to the Bulls.

The Bulls came out with some fire in their bellies in the second half and it was scrumhalf Embrose Papier who scored his team’s second try of the match.

However, the home side would be kicking themselves moments later when they gave Nohamba enough time and space to land a drop-goal.

The flyhalf then reduced the Bulls’ lead to just two points in the 49th minute with a penalty.

The Bulls then increased their lead again when Mpilo Gumede produced a strong run off the back of a scrum to score a try. The No.8 was also helped by the ref’s position on the field, with one Lions player unable to get to him.

Goosen added the extra two points with the conversion.

The Bulls were then made to pay for trying to play inside their in-goal area when David Kriel lost the ball in a tackle and Morgan Naudé was on hand to pounce on the loose ball and score for the Lions.

Nohamba made it a two-point ball game with his conversion again.

The Lions then regained the lead in the 74th minute after replacement flyhalf Jordan Hendrikse landed a fantastic long-range penalty.

However, with less than two minutes left of the clock, Goosen put the Bulls back in front with a long-range penalty of his own.

There was more drama to come with the Lions winning a penalty after the full-time hooter sounded. However, Hendrikse was unable to convert it into three points.

Man of the match: Sanele Nohamba had another great game in the No.10 jersey for the Lions. He was the creator of the opening try and he was just a constant threat. However, the award goes to Bulls scrumhalf Embrose Papier, who managed the game well for his team and his kicking game put the Lions under pressure on a few occasions. He was also one of his team’s three try-scorers.

The scorers:

For Bulls:
Try: Van der Merwe, Papier, Gumede
Cons: Goosen 3
Pens: Goosen 3

For Lions:
Tries: Louw 2, Naude
Cons: Nohamba 2
Pen: Nohamba, Hendrikse
DG: Nohamba

Teams:

Bulls: 15 Willie Le Roux, 14 Sebastian de Klerk, 13 David Kriel, 12 Harold Voster, 11 Sergeal Petersen, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Embrose Papier, 8 Mpilo Gumede, 7 Elrigh Louw, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Ruan Nortje (captain), 4 Deon Slabbert, 3 Mornay Smith, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Simphiwe Matanzima.
Replacements: 16 Johan Grobbelaar, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Khutha Mchunu, 19 Reinhardt Ludwig, 20 Cameron Hanekom, 21 Keagan Johannes, 22 Devon Williams, 23 Marcell Coetzee.

Lions: 15 Quan Horn, 14 Richard Kriel, 13 Henco van Wyk, 12 Marius Louw (captain), 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Sanele Nohamba, 9 Morne van den Berg, 8 Francke Horn, 7 Emmanuel Tshituka, 6 Hanru Sirgel, 5 Reinhard Nothnagel, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Asenathi Ntlabakanye, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 JP Smith.
Replacements: 16 Morne Brandon, 17 Morgan Naudé, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Darrien Landsberg, 20 Izan Esterhuizen, 21 JC Pretorius, 22 Jordan Hendrikse, 23 Erich Cronje.

Referee: Cwengile Jadezweni (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Aimee Barrett-Theron (South Africa), Morne Ferriera (South Africa)
TMO: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)

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