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Ospreys fight back to upset Lions in Challenge Cup

CHALLENGE CUP REPORT: The Lions ended their Challenge Cup pool phase with a 28-38 defeat to the Ospreys at Ellis Park on Sunday.


Both teams already qualified for the last 16 before the match. However, the Lions were looking for a big win to secure home comforts in the next round.

However, Saturday’s result means the Lions will now finish fourth in Pool Two and they will hit the road in the knockouts.

It was a dramatic final 10 minutes in Johannesburg with visitors scoring three tries in that period to secure the win.

It was not the start the Lions wanted when PJ Botha received a yellow card in the fifth minute for leading with an elbow while carrying the ball into contact.

It was the first of three yellow cards for the home side in the match.


Despite being a man down, the Lions opened the scoring in the 10th minute with a Sanele Nohamba penalty.

However, the Ospreys were in front a few minutes later when Owen Watkin charged down a Gianni Lombard kick before gathering the ball and scoring a try.

It didn’t take long for the Lions to hit back after Marius Louw chased down a Nohamba chip kick before gathering and scoring.

Nohamba surprisingly missed the conversion.


The Ospreys regained the lead in the 25th minute after George North broke through a Lombard tackle to race away for his team’s third try.

The see-saw nature of the game continued after that with JC Pretorius crashing over tryline for the Lions before Nohamba failed to find the direction with his conversion.

A well-worked line-out move provided the platform for the Lions to regain the lead just before the break and it was Louw who was the try-scorer again.

Nohamba found the upright with his conversion and at half-time it was 18-14 to the Lions.

The home side were back to 14 men again in the opening minute of the second half after Louw was given a yellow card for a shoulder charge.

The Lions managed proceedings well after that setback and their lead increased to seven points with a Nohamba penalty.

That score was cancelled out moments later when Edwards landed a penalty of his own.

Ivan van Rooyen’s side then secured the four-try bonus point in the 56th minute after Morne van den Berg found his way to the tryline after a quick-tap penalty. Nohamba was finally successful with a conversion as well.

The Lions were reduced to 14 men again in the 67th minute after replacement Hanru Sirgel was shown yellow for playing the ball on the ground.

The home side thought they had their fifth try in the 70th minute. However, the ball was lost forward over the tryline from a maul.

Instead, the Ospreys reduced the gap a few minutes later when Keelan Giles weaved his way to the tryline after some great interplay. Jack Walsh made it a three-point ball game with his conversion.

The visitors then found themselves in front in the 75th minute when replacement scrumhalf Cameron Jones found his way to the tryline after some great running. Walsh made it a three-point lead with his conversion.

The game was then put to bed with less than two minutes left on the clock after an intercept try from Ospreys No.8 Morgan Morse.

Man of the match: Marius Louw was a powerhouse in the midfield for the Lions and he scored two tries. However, we decided to give the award to Ospreys No.8 Morgan Morse, who was industrious in open play and he also scored the final try of the game.

The scorers:

For Lions:
Tries: Louw 2, Pretorius, Van den Berg
Con: Nohamba
Pens: Nohamba 2

For Ospreys:
Tries: Watkin, North, Giles, Cameron Jones, Morse
Cons: Edwards 2, Walsh 3
Pen: Edwards

Yellow cards: PJ Botha (Lions, 5′ – foul play, leading with an elbow); Marius Louw (Lions, 41′ – foul play, shoulder charge); Hanru Sirgel (Lions, 67′ – cynical play, playing the ball on the ground)


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

Ospreys: 15 Iestyn Hopkins, 14 Mat Protheroe, 13 George North, 12 Owen Watkin, 11 Keelan Giles, 10 Dan Edwards, 9 Reuben Morgan-Williams, 8 Morgan Morse, 7 Harri Deaves, 6 Will Hickey, 5 Adam Beard (captain), 4 James Ratti, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Sam Parry, 1 Rhys Henry.
Replacements: 16 Ethan Lewis, 17 Cam Jones, 18 Ben Warren, 19 Lewis Jones, 20 Tristan Davies, 21 Cameron Jones, 22 Jack Walsh, 23 Keiran Williams.

Referee: Jeremy Rozier (France)
Assistant referees: Evan Urruzmendi (France), Luc Ramos (France)
TMO: Patrick Dellac (France)

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