Super Rugby

Lions beat Sunwolves in Johannesburg




The Lions suffered their first loss this Super Rugby season last weekend and they get the chance to turn things around against the winless Sunwolves.

The Lions have played the Sunwolves twice since they joined Super Rugby and both matches were won by the Lions.

  • The Lions have taken wins in each of their previous two games against the Sunwolves, including a 94-7 demolition in their last meeting which stands as the second biggest win in Super Rugby history.
  • The Lions haven’t lost back-to-back Super Rugby games since they opened their 2015 campaign with a string of three defeats.
  • The Sunwolves continue to search for their maiden away win (L16), they’ve conceded 196 points in their last three games on the road.
  • The Sunwolves have the best tackle success rate (87%) of any team so far in 2018.
  • Elton Jantjies has provided five try assists this season, the equal most of any player (with Will Genia), as well as scoring one try of his own.

Match detail

We are waiting for the kick-off.

1.00: PEEEEP! The Sunwolves kick-off at a wet and damp Ellis Park. It rained heavily during the night and this morning, so the field will be heavy underfoot.

2.00: The visitors win an early penalty and they call for the tee.

3.00: PENALTY! William Tupou gives his team an early lead. 0-3

4.00: After last year’s 94-7 thrashing, Yutaka Nagare must have wanted some early points.

7.00: The Lions are starting to take control of the match.

8.00: TRY! Andries Coetzee takes Malcolm Marx’s long, skip-pass after the hooker’s midfield break, and races away to the corner for the game’s first try. 5-3

10.00: CONVERSION! Elton Jantjies curls his touchline kick between the uprights. 7-3

13.00: Len Massyn wins the penalty at the breakdown. Jantjies clears with a huge kick.

18.00: The Lions are camped inside the Sunwolves’ 22. The away team’s scrum has done well so far, but they are under the pump.

19.00: TRY! Lourens Erasmus dives on the loose ball after a powerful Lions scrum resulted in a tighthead. 12-3

20.00: CONVERSION! Jantjies passes 850 Super Rugby points. 14-3

21.00: Brilliant defence by the Sunwolves. They hold up Coetzee in the tackle and win the scrum on the Lions’ five-metre line.

22.00: TRY! Kotaro Matsushima goes over under the posts. 14-8

23.00: CONVERSION! Tupou adds the easy conversion. 14-10

25.00: Kwagga Smith made a huge break after taking Jantjies’ short pass. Fifteen phases later, the move breaks down, but the Lions get a penalty for offsides. Jantjies – as ever – kicks to the corner.

27.00: TRY! Malcolm Marx powers over after a driving maul. It took two pick-and-goes before Marx crashes over the whitewash. 19-10

28.00: MISS! Jantjies pulls his kick wide. 19-10

31.00: TRY! Craig Millar is in the corner. It came from Nagare’s excellent kick. Ross Cronje lost possession after being tackled by Hosea Saumaki. The wing got up, won the ball, played to the support runner, who popped to the onrushing Millar. 19-15

32.00: CONVERSION! Tupou adds the touchline kick. 19-17

35.00: The scrum is needing to be reset, again and again.

36.00: The Sunwolves survive after Cronje is caught offsides. Matsushima clears the danger.

38.00: Saumaki runs over Lionel Mapoe and races away. It took two men to stop him near the 22. The Lions have a lineout on their five.

39.00: Michael Little dots down, but there was a knock on by Tupou. It came from Mapoe losing the ball on his own try-line.

41.00: Another knock on saves the Lions. The Sunwolves have been great value in the first-half.

The half-time score was Lions 19 Sunwolves 17

41.00: PEEEEP! TRY! Aphiwe Dyantyi charges down the kick from Harumichi Tatekawa and is in for his fifth try of the season. 24-17

42.00: CONVERSION! Jantjies adds his third conversion of the afternoon. 26-17

46.00: The Lions are increasing the intensity and knocking on the door.

50.00: Jantjies’flat pass is lost forward. Scrum to the Sunwolves.

51.00: TRY! Hosea Saumaki scores after a wonderful double skip-pass move from the first-phase ball at the scrum. The winger beat Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Coetzee and Dyantyi before scoring in the corner. 26-22

52.00: CONVERSION! The kick makes it a two-point game. 26-24

57.00: Michael Leitch wins the penalty at the ruck. The Japan side has done well at the breakdown and the maul.

59.00: TRY! Kazuki Himeno intercepts Jantjies’ terrible pass and runs away to score under the posts. Wow! 26-29

60.00: CONVERSION! Ryoto Nakamura extends the visitor’s lead. 26-31

62.00: TRY! Marx is in for his second. 31-all

63.00: CONVERSION! Jantjies puts his team back in the lead. 33-31

66.00: The Sunwolves have an attacking lineout inside the Lions’ 22.

67.00: Nakamura kicks to the corner after the Lions are penalised.

68.00: Francois Mostert wins the lineout and the Lions get another penalty. Jantjies clears the danger.

72.00: TRY! Rohan Janse van Rensburg, on the reverse, barges over two defenders to give the Lions some breathing space. 38-31

73.00: CONVERSION! Jantjies adds another two. 40-31

75.00: The Sunwolves have lost four of their five lineouts compared to the Lions’ nine from nine. Massive in a game this close. If we remember the tighthead which led to Erasmus’ try, it makes for grim viewing.

78.00: Sunwolves have another scrum, near halfway and time is ticking down.

79.00: TRY! Atsushi Sakate beats the Lions defenders after chasing Matsushima’s kick. He played a one-two with Willie Britz before scoring under the posts. 40-36

80.00: CONVERSION! Nakamura adds the two. 40-38

81.00: The Lions win the turnover and clear the ball. Game over!


In the meantime why not have a look at the match preview.

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The final score: Lions 40 (19) Sunwolves 38 (17


Tries – Coetzee, Erasmus, Marx (2), Dyantyi, Janse van Rensburg
Pen –
Con – Jantjies (5)
Drop –
Cards –

Tries – Matsushima, Millar, Saumaki, Himeno, Sakate
Pen – Tupou
Con – Tupou (3), Nakamura (2)
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant Ref 1: Egon Seconds
Assistant Ref 2: Stephan Geldenhuys
TMO: Willie Vos



15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Len Massyn, 7 Francois Mostert, 6 Albertus Smith, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Lourens Erasmus, 3 Jacobus Adriaanse, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylan Smith.

Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Sithembiso Sithole, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Robert Kruger, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Marco Jansen van Vuren, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Shaun Reynolds.


15 Kotaro Matsushima, 14 Lomano Lemeki, 13 William Tupou, 12 Michael Little, 11 Hosea Saumaki, 10 Harumichi Tatekawa, 9 Yutaka Nagare (captain), 8 Michael Leitch (captain), 7 Pieter Labuschagne, 6 Yoshitaka Tokunaga, 5 Wimpie van der Walt, 4 Kazuki Himeno, 3 Jiwon Koo, 2 Yusuke Niwai, 1 Craig Millar.

Replacements: 16 Atsushi Sakate, 17 Shintaro Ishihara, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Grant Hattingh, 20 Willem Britz, 21 Keisuke Uchida, 22 Ryoto Nakamura, 23 Ryuji Noguchi.

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