Lions thump Griquas in Joburg try-fest
SUPER RUGBY UNLOCKED: The Lions recorded their first win of the Super Rugby Unlocked season when they thumped Griquas 61-31 in Johannesburg on Friday.
The Lions outscored their opponents by nine tries to four on their way to victory with centre Wandisile Simelane starring during the 80 minutes and wing Courtnall Skosan showing off his finishing skills with three tries.
Captain and flyhalf Elton Jantjies contributed 16 points to his team’s tally with eight conversions.
The visitors were already on the back foot in the second minute when flank Stefan Willemse was yellow carded for not going back 10 metres when he tackled Lions scrumhalf Morne van den Berg after a quick-tap penalty.
The Lions then opened the scoring the in the 10th minute after they won the ball off a Griquas’ scrum in midfield. The ball was spread wide through the hands before Skosan was put into space to run in for the game’s first try.
The home side were in again in the 16th minute when Simelane put his midfield partner Dan Kriel into space in the Griquas’ 22 to run in for an easy try.
Griquas finally got their first points of the game in the 24th minute when captain and flyhalf George Whitehead converted a penalty into three points.
The visitors wasted a couple of try-scoring opportunities and they were punished in the 30th minute. After several phases by Griquas in the Lions’ half, a loose ball was kicked ahead by the home side with Simelane chasing and gathering before passing to Skosan who ran in for his second try of the game.
The Lions scored their fourth try just before the half-time hooter sounded when the ball was turned over in the Griquas’ 22 before being spread to Stean Pienaar who dived over the tryline for the score.
Jantjies added the extra two points with the conversion and at the break, it was 28-3 to the Lions.
It was more of the same in the second half with the Lions opening the scoring after the break in the 43rd minute when MJ Pelser found his way to the tryline after a powerful driving maul.
Griquas finally scored their first try of the game in the 47th minute after Zak Burger found some space in the Lions’ defence to run in and score. Whitehead added the extra two points with the conversion.
However, the Lions continued their dominance a couple of minutes later when Jaco Visagie was driven over the tryline after another unstoppable maul deep inside the Griquas 22.
Griquas then gave the Lions a taste of their own medicine in the 54th minute when hooker HJ Luus scored a try via a driving maul. Whitehead added the extra two points with the conversion.
The visitors were in again in the 64th minute after James Verity-Amm snatched the ball after a Jantjies cross-kick before sprinting downfield for his team’s third try. Whitehead again was on target with the conversion.
However, any chance of a comeback was put to bed in the 70th minute when Simelane chipped the ball ahead and then gathered before powering his way to the tryline for an impressive try.
Griquas managed to score another try via replacement Tinus de Beer. However, the Lions finished the scoring with Reinhard Nothnagel finding his way to the tryline before Skosan ran in for his third try and the Lions’ ninth before full-time.
Man of the match: Wandisile Simelane was the star of the show. The centre was dangerous on attack throughout the game and he had a hand in several tries at Ellis Park. His name was also added to the scoresheet with a neat chip-and-chase try in the second half.
Try: Skosan 3, Kriel, Pienaar, Pelser, Visagie, Simelane, Nothnagel
Cons: Jantjies 8
Tries: Burger, Luus, Verity-Amm, De Beer
Cons: Whitehead 4
Yellow card: Stefan Willemse (Griquas, 2 – cynical play)
Lions: 15 Gianni Lombard; 14 Stean Pienaar, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Courtnall Skosan; 10 Elton Jantjies (captain), 9 Morné van den Berg; 8 Len Massyn, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 MJ Pelser, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Sti Sithole.
Replacments: 16 PJ Botha, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Jannie du Plessis, 19 Reinhard Nothnagel, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Ross Cronjé, 22 Burger Odendaal, 23 Tiaan Swanepoel.
Griquas: 15 James Verity-Amm, 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Harlon Klaasen, 12 André Swarts, 11 Eduan Keyter, 10 George Whitehead (captain), 9 Zak Burger, 8 Carl Els, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Adré Smith, 4 Mzwanele Zito, 3 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 2 Hendrik Luus, 1 Andrew Beerwinkel.
Replacements: 16 Monde Hadebe, 17 Bandisa Ndlovu, 18 John-Roy Jenkinson, 19 Johan Momsen, 20 Ewan Coetzee, 21 Theo Maree, 22 Tinus de Beer, 23 Masixole Banda.
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: Aimee Barrett-Theron, Stuart Berry
TMO: Jaco Peyper