Lions show attacking intent
PRE-SEASON SUPER RUGBY REPORT: The Lions still believe the game should be played only one way – attack, attack, ATTACK!
This much they showed in beating the Sharks 19-14 in a #SuperSunday outing at the Cape Town stadium.
Neither coach – Swys de Bruin and Robert du Preez – would be too concerned with the result.
The match was clearly used as a ‘practice’ – with rolling subs thrown into the mix.
There was the obvious pre-season errors – over-enthusiastic rushing on the defence and being caught offside, throwing silly passes and dropping balls.
That was to be expected and the first quarter ended scoreless.
However, the most encouraging sign was the energy levels of both sides.
The Lions made in blatantly obvious they are going to embrace their well-versed approach of all-out attack.
The Sharks were a little more circumspect, but also looked to give the ball air when the counter was on.
And it was the Sharks who opened the scoring when Makazole Mapimpi intercepted a no-look pass from replacement Shaun Reynolds in the 25th minute. Curwin Bosch slotted the conversion – 7-0.
The Lions continued to push for tries, declining kicks at goal and they got their reward in the 35th minute, when hooker Malcolm Marx barged over from a line-out five metres out from the Sharks line. Elton Jantjies added the conversion – 7-all.
At the start of the second half both teams made a rash of changes, as both coaches tested their fringe players.
It was a moment of magic from flyhalf Elton Jantjies – a pin-point grubber – that set Courtnall Skosan up for the first try after the break. Jantjies’ conversion attempt drifted wide – 12-7.
The Sharks did not take long to get back into the game, Armand van der Merwe driving over after a few powerful phases near the Lions’ line. Bosch added the conversion to edge the Sharks into the lead – 14-12.
A stray pass was capitalised on by Sylvian Mahuza, who sprinted from well within his own half to get the Lions back in the lead. Jantjies made it 19-14 with the conversion.
The Lions hung in the face of a late Sharks surge to end up on the winning side.
Man of the match: Tyler Paul and Jacques Vermeulen provided the muscle the Sharks need – especially on defence. Lukhanyo Am was masterful in organising the Sharks defensive lines and Jeremy Ward asked some questions of the Lions’ defence. Luke Stringer relished the opportunity to play, after having joined the Sharks from Cape Town last year. Albertus Smith and Warren Whiteley were both very busy. Malcolm Marx, as we have come to expect, was powerful in his carries and a real menace at the breakdown. However, our award goes to the Lions’ Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies, who showed some sublime touches, which will encourage coach Swys de Bruin.
For the Sharks:
Tries: Mapimpi, Van der Merwe
Cons: Bosch 2
For the Lions:
Tries: Marx, Skosan, Mahuza
Cons: Jantjies 2
* Don’t miss this week’s podcast, as the @rugby365com team is joined by former @Springboks flyhalf @APetoors10. They look at how players can prepare for ‘Life after rugby’ and what the pitfalls are.
Sharks: 15 Lwazi Mvovo, 14 Sibusiso Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Louis Schreuder (captain), 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Gideon Koegelenberg, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Juan Schoeman.
Replacements -from: Akker van der Merwe, Mzamo Majola, Khutha Mchunu, JJ van der Mescht, Luke Stringer, Wian Vosloo, Phepsi Buthelezi, Cameron Wright, Rhyno Smith, Jeremy Ward, Aphelele Fassi.
Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Courtnall Skosan, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Hacjivah Dayimani, 6 Albertus Smith, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Ruan Vermaak, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylan Smith.
Replacements – from: Pieter Jansen, Danie Minnie, Frans Van Wyk, Jacobie Adriaanse, Marnus Schoeman, Dillon Smith, Shaun Reynolds, Sylvian Mahuza, Ruan Combrinck, Vincent Tshituka, Rhyno Herbst.
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Cwengile Jadezweni, Divan Uys
TMO: Christie du Preez