Lions send Stormers back to school
They stated that in emphatic fashion by demolishing the Stormers 52-31 at Ellis Park on Saturday.
The more than 22,000 spectators thoroughly enjoyed watching the Lions outscore their visitors from Cape Town by eight tries to three.
The Stormers will grasp at their four tries as a straw of positivity, but the reality is that they were taught a massive lesson – with some fortuitous scores, including a controversial penalty try right at the end, giving their score some credibility.
Refereeing frailties aside, the Lions certainly silenced their critics as they put daylight between them and the chasing pack in the South African conference.
It was their senior players, in particular, those who have been heavily criticised in recent weeks, that stood up and showed they can still perform at this level.
The home side made a fast start to the game, with three early tries from wing Madosh Tambwe, who punished the Stormers on the counter-attack.
A series of powerful carries saw the visitors surge into the 22 and the ball was then worked out to tighthead prop Wilco Louw, who forced his way over for a try.
The Lions responded with another counter-attack try, with centre Lionel Mapoe scoring in the corner again.
A break from Raymond Rhule in midfield put the Stormers back on the front foot, with fullback Sarel Marais stepping up to slot a penalty.
The home side would have the final say in the first half, with Albertus Smith scoring after the half-time hooter.
That saw the Lions take a 31-10 advantage into the break, with the Stormers needing a big effort in the second half.
The hosts struck first in the second half with a try from lock Franco Mostert and they followed that up as Tambwe got over for his fourth to make it 45-10 with 30 minutes left.
The Stormers hit back as the forwards took it close from a strong maul before Damian Willemse spun out of a tackle to score.
The Lions responded with a try from wing Ruan Combrinck.
The Stormers scored a consolation try by replacement scrumhalf Paul de Wet.
The Stormers finished the game with a controversial penalty try to make the final score 52-31.
Man of the match: Pieter-Steph du Toit was by some distance the Stormers' most productive player. For the Lions, it was the usual suspects – Malcolm Marx, Franco Mostert and Albertus Smith. Ruan Combrinck made a satisfactory return from injury. There is also Madosh Tambwe's four tries. However, our award goes to Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies, who schooled Stormers counterpart Damien Willemse.
For the Lions:
Tries: Tambwe 4, Mapoe, A Smith, Mostert, Combrinck
Cons: Jantjies 6
For the Stormers:
Tries: Louw, Willemse, De Wet, Penalty try
Cons: Marais 3, Penalty try does not require a conversion
Yellow card: Marvin Orie (Lions, 76 – repeated infringements, in the side of a maul)
Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Madosh Tambwe, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Dillon Smit, 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Albertus Smith, 5 Francois Mostert (captain), 4 Marvin Orie, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylan Smith.
Replacements: 16 Corne Fourie, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Sylvian Mahuza.
Stormers: 15 Sarel Marais, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Damian De Allende, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain), 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 17 Jacobus Janse van Rensburg, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Kobus van Dyk, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Jaco Coetzee, 22 Paul de Wet, 23 Craig Barry.
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa), AJ Jacobs (South Africa)
TMO: Willie Vos (South Africa)