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Stormers survive as Lions show their teeth

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Article Published: Saturday 26 February 2011|

The Stormers gave the Lions their 16th straight defeat when they scraped home by 19 points to 16 in Cape Town against a passionate and determined Lions outfit.

As the Stormers had a bye last week it is hard to know whether they are just not up to speed like the rest of the field or whether they have lost the form that they enjoyed in 2010.

What is evident though is that the Stormers will have to improve dramatically if they are to have any real hope for the title later this year.

The Lions led for most of the match but the Stormers snatched the lead with five minutes remaining on the clock with a try by Pieter Louw who was brought on as a precaution for Schalk Burger at half time.

As it was last week for the Lions against the Bulls the result could have been so different as the Lions showed they are on the up but that will hardly be a consolation for losing their first two matches against last year's finalists.

It will not be long before the Lions end their painful losing streak and once they become more clinical they will be able to stand toe-to-toe with Super rugby's best teams. Cool heads under pressure will be needed.

From the kick off the Lions had the Stormers on the backfoot with a hugely physical performance. The Lions were however not as precise as they could have been and conceded a penalty on the stroke of half time which allowed the Stormers to take a 9-6 half time lead.

The Lions came out for the second half all fired up and soon took the lead back but the Stormers experience in the end was key as they kept their heads cool and strung together 14 phases which eventually set up a maul and from that they scored.

The Lions however were not giving up and put together over 20 phases as they worked the ball from their tryline to the other side of the field for four minutes after the siren only for Pieter Louw to steal the ball allowing the Stormers to kick the ball out and end the game.

While the Lions once again produced a sterling performance, much like the one against the Bulls last week, they failed to round off a winning result when it was there for the taking.

At the outset, the Stormers' fine inter-play between forwards and backs made for early raids on the Lions' 22-metre area. It was a promising start and they enjoyed an early reward when flyhalf Gary van Aswegen slotted over a sixth minute penalty (3-0).

Both sides did not seem to be looking after their ball particularly well and several turn-overs resulted, and the Lions' play thrived as they sprung several counter-attacks, one of which led to the opening try of the match scored by centre Waylon Murray.

Murray's unconverted try was scored in the 16th minute and preceded by an Elton Jantjies penalty and the Lions looked good for their deserved 8-3 lead.

Two minutes later, Jantjies staged a telling break-out from his 10-metre line but desperate defending by the Stormers' cover-defence, averted danger some five metres from the tryline.

Jantjies failed to exploit the situation when he hashed an easy penalty after the Stormers were blown up for an infringement while thwarting the tryline threat.

The Stormers suffered another setback when their hooker Deon Fourie was yellow-carded in the 23rd minute and the Lions' tried to drive home the advantage with several penetrative moves which took play into the Stormers' 22.

The Stormers defence held out and instead produced a fiery passage of play ahead of the break which created enough pressure for the Lions to incur penalties, two of which were punished by Van Aswegen, whose six-point effort gave the Stormers a slender 9-8 lead at halftime.

The Stormers returned to action without their talisman captain Schalk Burger who picked up a first-half knee injury and flanker Pieter Louw joined the fray at his expense.

But the Stormers seemed unaffected by the loss of Burger and they imposed themselves on the match for about 10 minutes after the restart without adding to their score.

The first chance the Lions had to transfer play in the Stormers' half also brought relief in the form of a Jantjies penalty, which saw the visitors regain the lead in the match (11-9).

The score seemed to provide the Lions' play which saw the Stormers' defence buckle under the pressure as Jaco Taute crashed in at the corner flag for an unconverted try in the 58th minute (16-9).

Flyhalf Peter Grant signalled his return to the Stormers after a stint in Japan with a 65th minute penalty, just moments after he replaced Van Aswegen (16-12).

For much of the ensuing passage of play, both sides were struggling to protect the ball effectively and the numerous turn-overs that resulted caused the flow of the game to be reversed every now and again.

Neither side managed to gain the ascendancy and play was largely restricted to the area between the two 10-metre lines.

Some 10 minutes from the end, the Stormers managed to transfer play to the Lions' 22-metre and they looked like breaking through on several occasions but they saved their victory effort for the end when, four minutes from the whistle, Louw crashed over after a driving maul, sprung from a five-metre line-out.

Grant converted splendidly from the touchline to open a three-point lead (19-16).

Just over 34 000 Stormers' fans were made to hold their breath as the Lions went through some 20 phases in a three-minute passage of play after the hooter had gone but the home side's defence held out to keep their lead intact.

Final Score  Stormers 19 Lions 16

Tries -P Louw 
Pen - G. Van Aswegen 3, P Grant
Con - P Grant
Drop -
Cards - Deon Fourie (23rd minute) yellow

Tries -W Murray,J Taute
Pen - E Jantjies 2
Con -
Drop -
Cards -

Match Officials
Referee: Stuart Dickinson
Assistant Ref 1:Ian Smith
Assistant Ref 2:Marc van Zyl
TMO:Shaun Veldsman


Stormers: Conrad Jantjes, Danie Poolman, Jaque Fourie, Jean De Villiers, Bryan Habana, Gary Van Aswegen, Ricky Januarie, Duane Vermuelen, Francois Louw, Schalk Burger (captain), Andries Bekker, Rynhardt Elstadt, Brok Harris, Deon Fourie, CJ van Der Linde

Reserves: Siyabonga Ntubeni, Frans Malherbe, De Kock Steenkamp, Pieter Louw, Dewaldt Duvenage, Peter Grant, Juan De Jongh

Lions :Jaco Taute, Lionel Mapoe, Waylon Murray, Doppies la Grange, Michael Killian, Elton Jantjies, Jano Vermaak, Warren Whiteley, Josh Strauss, Derick Minnie, Franco van der Merwe (capt.), George Earle, Kevin Buys, Bandise Maku, JC Janse van Rensburg.

Reserves: Martin Bezuidenhout, Patric Cilliers, Wikus van Heerden, Cobus Grobbelaar, Rory Kockott, Burton Francis, James Kamana.

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