Lions halt Chiefs' good run
SUPER RUGBY REPORT: The Lions conquered their off-field challenges to secure a 23-17 win over the Chiefs in Hamilton.
The Lions came into the match at the back of 20-31 loss to the Brumbies in Canberra. And took to the field without head coach Swys de Bruin, who had to return home just hours before kick off for personal reasons.
Nonetheless, the side produced a flawless first-half performance for the win.
In contrast, the Chiefs failed to build on their thrilling 33-29 win over the Blues. All Black and impact player Damian McKenzie’s season-ending injury along with the absence of Brodie Retallick and Nathan Harris was certainly evident in the hosts’ performance.
The Chiefs might have outscored the Lions three tries to two in the end, however brilliant goal-kicking from Elton Jantjies which included two penalties, two conversions and a drop goal proved be the difference on the scoreboard.
The Lions tries came via Carlu Sadie and Aphiwe Dyantyi. While Sean Wainui, Nepo Laulala and Tumua Manu scored tries for the Chiefs and Marty McKenzie added a conversion.
Aside from the Lions impeccable defence which kept the hosts scoreless for more than 50 minutes of the game, the Johannesburg side’s scrum set a perfect platform for the team – winning all of their seven scrums.
The Lions registered the first points on the board after thanks to a penalty by Jantjies.
Chiefs could not combat the visitors’ scrum dominance and were punished in the 25th minute as Jantjies doubled the lead with a successful 42 metre kick.
With more than 90 percent of the possession it was no surprise that visitors also scored the first try of the match. Following multiple pick-and-goes, Lions prop Sadie bulldozed his way over the line. Jantjies added the extras for the 13-0 lead.
The Lions kept on pilling on the pressure. Just before the break captain Warren Whiteley put in a grubber to Springboks wing Dyantyi, who dived over the line for the side’s second five-pointer. Jantjies made sure to add the extras two for the 20-0 lead.
In the second half, Lions flyhalf Gianni Lombard took a nasty blow to the knee and had to leave the field.
Not only had the Lions had to deal with the enforced change, the element of fatigue started to rear its ugly head – handing the Chiefs the opportunity to get into the game with back to back tries in a space of five minutes.
Instigated by captain Brad Weber’s break, Wainui dived over in the corner for the first score. While Laulala crashed over for the second. McKenzie failed to convert both.
The closing minutes was nail-biting. With five minutes left on the clock, McKenzie pin-point cross kick generously bounced for Alex Nankivell who popped it to Manu for the Chiefs’ third try.
McKenzie finally found his kicking boots and added the extras to narrow the deficit to just three points.
However, it was Jantjies who had the last say with a perfectly timed drop and a win in Hamilton.
Man of the match: Marvin Orie’s line-out work was impressive, while Elton Jantjies pin-point kicking and leadership proved to be vital. However our nod goes to the 21-year-old Carlu Sadie for his overall workrate and his impressive form when it comes to scrums.
Tries: Wainui, Laulala, Manu
Tries: Sadie, Dyantyi
Pens: Jantjies 2
Drop Goal: Jantjies
As it happened: Chiefs v Lions
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Chiefs: 15 Jack Debreczeni, 14 Sean Wainui, 13 Alex Nankivell, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Ataata Moeakiola, 10 Marty McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber (captain), 8 Taleni Seu, 7 Lachlan Boshier, 6 Luke Jacobson, 5 Mitchell Brown, 4 Tyler Ardron, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Liam Polwart, 1 Angus Ta’avao.
Replacements: 16 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 17 Atu Moli, 18 Sosefo Kautai, 19 Jesse Parete, 20 Pita Gus Sowakula, 21 Jonathan Taumateine, 22 Tumua Manu, 23 Shaun Stevenson.
Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Sylvian Mahuza, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Elton Jantjies, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Gianni Lombard, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Albertus Smith, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Stephan Lewies, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Sti Sithole.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Frans Van Wyk, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Franco Naude, 23 Ruan Combrinck.
Referee: Brendon Pickerill
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser, Rasta Rasivhenge
TMO: Shane McDermott