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Lions leave it late against Waratahs

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The Lions won a close-fought contest 29-28 against the Waratahs at Ellis Park, Johannesburg.

An end-to-end match saw the teams share eight tries, four apiece, in a rematch of last season’s Super Rugby semi-final in the City of Gold.

Some contentious refereeing by Egon Seconds concerning the scrums and mauls will dominate the post-match analysis.

Two calls went against the Waratahs in the final 12 minutes that, essentially, cost the tourists a chance of victory.

A bizarre call concerning a maul led to the penalty that Shaun Reynolds kicked to put the Lions ahead by one.

Reynolds’ kick proved to be the winner.

Super Rugby Highlights: Lions versus Waratahs, Round 13, Ellis Park, Johannesburg

Michael Hooper was not happy, questioning the call.

Seconds was also questioned in the commentary booth by Springbok World Cup-winning flyhalf Joel Stransky.

Instead of winning a scrum for holding up a player in the maul, the Lions were allowed to play on after not using the ball when told to by Mr Seconds.

Ross Cronje played on and his side won a penalty for offsides, which Reynolds kicked, and which ultimately, won last year’s runners-up the game.

Daryl Gibson’s men looked better equipped to handle the Highveld altitude after spending two weeks preparing in Pretoria and Johannesburg.

They leave South Africa with two defeats after losing to the Bulls, last weekend.

Swys de Bruin will be relieved because his side was never truly in control. They got out of jail.

The game was end-to-end as both teams scored twice in the opening quarter

The Tahs were on the board in the fourth-minute after some wonderful running and offloading by Karmichael Hunt to Clark.

The winger darted to the line before sending Nick Phipps away. Bernard Foley added the extras.

The Lions hit back when they were awarded a penalty after a Malcolm Marx intercept.

Marx ran from the opposition’s 10m into the 22 before Clark tackled him.

A driving maul was stopped, but the home team went through the phases.

Jantjies jinked his way past defenders before popping an inside ball to Aphiwe Dyantyi, who stretched out to score near the posts.

Jantjies levelled, but the visitors hit back immediately.

Hooper finished off another free-flowing attack. He sold Warren Whiteley and Marx a dummy, cut inside and ran away for his 27th Super Rugby try.

The Lions yet again hit back with a score of their own.

A driving maul disintegrated, but they kept patience before Stephan Lewies burrowed over near the corner from close range.

Jantjies levelled for the second time with a conversion near the touchline.

Two more tries as the teams shared six tries in the first half

De Bruin and Gibson’s men traded blows, looking to land the knockout blow in the early rounds.

Nobody wanted to go the distance.

Four tries in 27 minutes; five in 33, as the sides traded haymakers.

It was six minutes before Rob Simmons’ line-break on the Lions’ 22 put his side back in front for the third time.

Marx knocked on after Jantjies failed to clear.

Lalakai Foketi took contact, the ball was recycled quickly by Phipps to Simmons, who broke the tackles and beat Jantjies and Marx to the posts.

Foley slotted his third conversion.

The defending was not much to write home about. Both teams missed straight-forward tackles and too many first-time tackles as the attacks had a field day.

It is often the case with Australian derbies and matches between Australian and South African franchises.

Kwagga Smith was on the board, soon after. Harold Vorster’s swerving run, from the tourists’ 10m, set-up the try.

Vorster beat several defenders (all forwards), threw a dummy and grubbered ahead for Smith to the chase.

The Blitzbok legend beat foley to the bouncing ball and dotted down near the corner. Jantjies missed from the sideline.

Each side made mistakes as the half descended into chaos. The hosts lost a lineout on their throw after Marvin Orie left the field for an HIA.

The Waratahs did not capitalise, instead, they booted the ball out on the full.

Cronje knocked on after a contested ruck put the hosts under pressure, which ended the half.

Second half begins as the first did

It did not take long for the scorers to get back to work.

Three minutes after Foley restarted the game, the Lions had the lead for the first time.

Smith won a vital turnover after Beale ran too upright, on the left-hand touchline.

Vorster broke from his 22 to start the counter-attack.

Jantjies, Whiteley and Marx were all involved to send Skosan away down the right-hand touchline.

Mistakes crept in as the game wore on. The sides shared 22 handling errors by the beginning of the last quarter.

Orie snapped up a lineout, but the turnover led to nothing.

Then, the Australians struck with their fourth try to retake the lead.

Tom Staniforth crashed over from close range after Curtis Rona took Beale’s floated pass, which went over the head of Skosan, and raced to the corner.

Rona was brought down before the try-line, the ball recycled to Staniforth, who could not be stopped by two defenders.

Foley, kicking at 100%, put his side back in front.

Bizarre refereeing helps Lions take a late lead

Reynolds kicked his first Super Rugby points with a 68th-minute penalty, which the Lions were fortunate to be awarded.

Referee Seconds called a maul, but let the Lions play after it became a ruck. Mr Seconds then blew for offsides by the Waratahs.

Hooper asked him if it was a maul, but he said no, which was baffling.

Beale attempted a long-range drop-kick soon afterwards, but he pushed the kick wide.

Time was winding down, who would have the legs, the lungs to win this contest?

Altitude? What altitude? New South Wales hung in, repelling the Lions. They did not fold.

Gibson’s side survived another onslaught on their line after shipping a questionable scrum-penalty.

A last-ditch counter-attack, after winning possession, however, came to nothing.

It was a brave stand by the Australians, who leave South Africa licking their wounds.

Final Score: Lions 29 (19) Waratahs 28 (21)

Scorers

Lions
Tries – Dyantyi, Lewies, Smith, Skosan
Pen – Reynolds
Con – Jantjies (3)
Drop –
Cards –

Waratahs
Tries – Phipps, Hooper, Simmons, Staniforth
Pen –
Con – Foley (4)
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Egon Seconds
Assistant Ref 1: Jaco Peyper
Assistant Ref 2: Rasta Rasivhenge
TMO: Willie Vos

Teams

Lions

15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Courtnall Skosan, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Stephan Lewies, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Sti Sithole.

Replacements: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Shaun Reynolds, 23 Tyrone Green.

Waratahs

15 Kurtley Beale, 14 Alex Newsome, 13 Lalakai Foketi, 12 Karmichael Hunt, 11 Cam Clark, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Tom Staniforth, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Harry Johnson-Holmes.

Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Tom Robertson, 18 Chris Talakai, 19 Hugh Sinclair, 20 Will Miller, 21 Jake Gordon, 22 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 23 Curtis Rona.

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