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Lions break URC duck with one-point win against Scarlets

MATCH REPORT: The Lions claim their first win of the United Rugby Championship season with a nail-biting 24-23 victory over Scarlets at Parc y Scarlets Llanelli.


With three defeats after three rounds, the Lions headed into the Round Four fixture desperate for a win.

*To recap all the action CLICK HERE!!!

Trailing 14-23 in the closing stages of the match, the Lions’ never-say-die attitude prevailed as a late penalty by Sanela Nohamba and a converted try by centre Henco van Wyk sealed the victory in Wales.

Ivan Van Rooyen opted to hand Nohamba the flyhalf role with regular flyhalf Jordan Hendrickse on the bench. The decision raised a few eyebrows but in the end, the coach’s gamble paid off as Nohamba dictated the play really well.

The 24-year-old added nine points to the team’s tally – three conversions and a penalty.

Captain Marius Louw, hooker PJ Botha and centre Henco Van Wyk were the Lions’ try-scorers of the evening.

For the Scarlets, wing Tom Rogers and hooker Ryan Elias scored the Scarlets’ two tries, while playmaker Ioan Lloyd added 13 points with the boot.

Lloyd handed the hosts an early 3-0 lead and his break got the hosts inside the Lions’ 22 before Rogers went over the line for the converted try, 10-0.


The Lions clearly struggled in the opening exchanges but they managed to regroup after the water break.

From a successful lineout, the visitors lined up an attack, with Frankie Horn bursting through defenders and sending Marius Louw in for an easy try under the posts.

Nohamba cut the deficit to three with the conversion.

In the closing stages of the first half,  Nohamba and Lloyd both missed penalty attempts, leaving Scarlets with a 10-7 advantage at the break.


Lloyd extended the Scarlets’ lead after the break before the see-saw battle started.

For the first time in the match, the Lions took the lead as the big forwards put in some strong carries for Botha to power over from close range. Nohamba added the extra for the 14-13 lead.

Lloyd restored the lead with another successful penalty, 16-14.

The Lions fought hard and were a threat for most of the second half. However, they failed to convert their chances and errors nullified all their efforts.

With 10 minutes to go, the Scarlets bagged their second try, Ryan Elias powering over the line at the back of a maul. Lloyd added the conversion for the 23-14 lead.

The game looked set and buried. However, the Lions refused to go away. They were rewarded with a penalty, and Nohamba again narrowed the deficit to six points.

The Johannesburg side finally snatched the lead in the dying minutes. Richard Kriel charged down a kick before handing it to Van Wyk, who dived over the line for the try.

Nohamba took his time with the easy conversion as he kicked the Lions to their first win over the season.

Man of the match:  Francke Horn made a couple of strong carries getting the Lions over the advantage line with each carry. However, our nod goes to  Sanela Nohamba. The playmaker kept his cool and even after missing a penalty he regrouped and put in some solid kicks. He also had a hand in the team’s winning try.

The scorers:

For Scarlets:
Tries: Rogers, Elias
Cons: Lloyd 2
Pens: Lloyd 3

For Lions:
Tries: Louw, Botha, Van Wyk
Cons: Nohamba 3
Pen: Nohamba

Scarlets: 15 Johnny McNicholl, 14 Tom Rogers, 13 Joe Roberts, 12 Eddie James, 11 Steff Evans, 10 Ioan Lloyd, 9 Gareth Davies (captain), 8 Carwyn Tuipulotu, 7 Teddy Leatherbarrow, 6 Taine Plumtree, 5 Vaea Fifita, 4 Alex Craig, 3 Harri O’Connor, 2 Ryan Elias, 1 Kemsley Mathias.
Replacements: 16 Shaun Evans, 17 Steff Thomas, 18 Wyn Jones, 19 Morgan Jones, 20 Ben Williams, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Charlie Titcombe, 23 Ioan Nicholas.

Lions: 15 Quan Horn, 14 Richard Kriel, 13 Henco van Wyk, 12 Marius Louw (captain), 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Sanele Nohamba, 9 Morne van den Berg, 8 Francke Horn, 7 Emmanuel Tsituka, 6 Hanru Sirgel, 5 Ruan Delport, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 PJ Botha, 1 Corne Fourie.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 JP Smith, 18 Asenathi Ntlabakanye, 19 Willem Alberts, 20 Ruan Venter, 21 JC Pretorius, 22 Jordan Hendrikse, 23 Rynhardt Jonker.

Referee: Chris Busby (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Gareth Newman (Wales) and Simon Mills (Wales)
TMO: Colin Stanley (Ireland)



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