Super Rugby

Lions beat Highlanders in Johannesburg




The Lions have played the Highlanders 19 times in Super Rugby since 1998, the Lions have won seven matches and lost 12.

It gives the Lions a record of winning 37% of their matches against the Highlanders regardless of venue.

  • The winner has alternated in the last 10 Super Rugby meetings between the Lions and the Highlanders, both sides winning five games apiece in that spell.
  • The Highlanders have won five of their last seven Super Rugby fixtures in South Africa (L2), the same amount as they’d won in their previous 21 such matches (L16).
  • The Lions have lost their last three Super Rugby games at home to New Zealand opposition, despite holding the lead at half-time in the previous two matches of that span.
  • Only the Crusaders (18) have scored more tries in the third quarter of matches than the Lions (13) and the Highlanders (12) in Super Rugby 2019.
  • Matt Faddes has scored three tries in his last four Super Rugby games; however, he’s not scored a try away from home in the competition since Round 12, 2017.
  • The Landers have not won away in Johannesburg since 2005 against the Cats, which means they have (technically) never beaten the Lions at Ellis Park.

Match detail

We are waiting for the kick-off.

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

1.00: PEEEEP! We are underway at Ellis Park, Johannesburg.

2.00: Malcolm Marx captains the Lions in the absence of Warren Whiteley, who just cannot seem to be fit for a long period of time. Elliot Dixon is a late change, on the bench, for Waisake Naholo.

3.00: Courtnall Skosan, inside his 22, takes a quick lineout and the Lions run the ball before kicking to touch.

4.00: The Lions win the first lineout of the game and have moved up to halfway. It’s slow ball for the hosts, who lose the ball forward. Matt Faddess puts boot to ball, and the Highlanders win a penalty at the ruck.

5.00: TRY! Aaron Smith takes a quick-tap penalty, sends the ball wide to Patelesio Tomkinson. He kept his width, waiting for Teihorangi Walden to put him away in the corner. 0-5

7.00: MISS! The conversion attempt from Josh Ioane is wide. 0-5

9.00: Lionel Mapoe almost slips a tackle, but the Lions win a penalty because Ayden Johnstone did not roll away.

10.00: Elton Jantjies kicks to the corner, however, Marx goes to the back of the lineout to Kwagga Smith, who cannot gather, knocking forward and giving the Highlanders a chance to clear from the scrum.

12.00: The Lions are trying to play up-tempo from deep, but the visitors shut them down. Tyrel Lomax slows down the ball and concedes a penalty. Jantjies kicks to the corner.

13.00: Smith tries to offload after a poor driving maul, instead, his pass is lost forward allowing the Kiwis to counter-attack.

14.00: TRY! Smith redeems himself, breaking from the halfway line to the 22, bumping off a defender before sending Andries Coetzee away to level. Coetzee cut inside Faddes and swallow-dives over. 5-all

14.00: CONVERSION! Jantjies wastes no time with the conversion. 7-5

16.00: The teams look to be feeling each other out after the initial frenzy of the opening quarter of an hour.

18.00: Some mistakes taking the sting out of the two teams’ attacks. The Lions win possession and are marching down the field.

21.00: A Penalty is awarded to the Lions despite Tomkinson winning the turnover because of a team-mate entering the ruck from the side. Jantjies kicks to the corner.

22.00: Shannon Frizell takes out a Lions’ jumper and the support players. Jantjies kicks to the corner, again.

23.00: The home side try to drive but are again repelled, but referee Rasta Rasivhenge calls over Luke Whitelock to warn his side. There have been four infringements in three plays.

24.00: OH DEAR! Another miscommunication between Marx and his jumpers, this time Marvin Orie loses possession, killing the attack.

25.00: The Highlanders are slowing the play down to their tempo. Carlu Sadie is isolated and Johnstone wins the turnover and penalty.

26.00: The Lions get out of jail after a counter-attack by the visitors ends with a knock on when it looked certain that they would score. They had the numbers but a stray hand from Orie put the attackers off. Scrum, five.

27.00: BIG SCRUM! Swys de Bruin will have enjoyed that scrum from his forwards. They win a penalty, and go quickly, running from their 22.

28.00: It’s end-to-end. Skosan chased down a kick that Ioane struggled to collect. The flyhalf did well to secure possession. The Highlanders start a counter of their own. Jordan Hyland breaks down the sideline before releasing, under pressure from two defenders, to Faddes. The fullback loses the ball forward with the try-line at his mercy.

30.00: The New Zealanders seem to be struggling with either the altitude, the Lions’ tempo, or both because they are slowing everything down to walking pace.

32.00: Marx wins a trade-mark penalty at the breakdown. Jantjies clears to the Landers’ 10m.

35.00: TRY! Faddes goes close but is ankle-tapped in the corner. The ball is recycled to the opposite side of the field. Smith plays Ioane, who dances through the defence and puts Tom Franklin away next to the poles. 7-10

36.00: CONVERSION! Ioane adds the extras. 7-12

38.00: The Lions have a scrum inside the Landers’ half. It is reset. Eventually, the Lions mount an attack. Skosan bounces off a defender, Coetzee goes close but is stopped short.

39.00: TRY! Smith finishes off the superb move. Franklin is lucky he is not yellow-carded for deliberately knocking down Jantjies’ pass. Orie picked up the rolling ball and popped inside to Smith, who handed off a defender to score his side’s second. 12-all

40.00: CONVERSION! Jantjies restores the lead. 14-12

41.00: Harold Vorster clears the ball into the stands.

The halftime score was Lions 14 Highlanders 12

41.00: PEEEEP! we are back underway in the City of Gold.

42.00: Tomkinson gets penalised for crawling on the ground after being tackled.

44.00: The Lions have had most of the possession and territory, but they are making too many handling errors, allowing the visitors to regroup.

46.00: Marx knocks on at a Highlanders’ lineout; he’s lucky not to see yellow because it looked deliberate.

47.00: Mapoe drops the ball after Vorster’s midfield break and chicken-wing offload started a counter-attack.

49.00: The pitch is a bit sandy, making it hard for the front rows to stay up. Eventually, the ref has had enough, awarding the Lions a penalty for a collapsing by the Kiwis.

52.00: TRY! Smith barges over from close range after a taking a quick-tap penalty following a 16-phase attack. Coetzee and Stephan Lewies both went close, but Faddes was offside. Smith, using his sevens’ intuition, picked up the ball, ran to the mark to take the penalty. He was met with no resistance as he dotted down. 19-12

53.00: CONVERSION! Jantjies adds his third from the tee. 21-12

56.00: The Highlanders are enjoying some pressure inside the Lions’ 22.

57.00: TRY! The Highlanders hit back! Tomkinson comes off the right wing to put his partner Jordan Hyland away in the corner. Hyland had to fend off the cover defenders, and stay strong to not be pushed out, expertly dotting down inside the corner flag. 21-17

58.00: MISS! The kick is wide. 21-17

60.00: TRY! Faddes scores his 20th Super Rugby try after Aaron Smith picks up a loose ball at the back of the ruck and broke into the opposition’s half. The scrumhalf drew Coetzee, played Faddes on his outside. The fullback raced away down the touchline, beating Kwagga Smith to the goal-line. 21-22

61.00: MISS! Daniel Hollinshead misses his second attempt, but the visitors lead. 21-22

63.00: The Lions are awarded a penalty. They will not kick to the corner for a change, instead, Jantjies calls for the tee.

64.00: PENALTY! Jantjies, from in front, puts his side back in the lead. 24-22

67.00: The game is edgy, both teams making mistakes in the strike zone, and losing their set-pieces.

69.00: Faddes gets back to save his side, but he shanks his clearance kick, giving the Lions an attacking scrum.

71.00: TRY! Some silky touches from the Lions see Shaun Reynolds unmarked on the sideline. Reynolds takes Aphiwe Dyantyi’s basketball pass and runs in for the try. 29-22

73.00: CONVERSION! Jantjies extends the lead. 31-22

74.00: TRY! The visitors hit back again. Ioane’s superb finish, dotting down next to the right-hand post while being held back by a defender, reduces the deficit. 31-27

75.00: CONVERSION! Hollinshead can’t miss from in front. 31-29

77.00: Hyland knocks on inside the Lions’ half.

78.00: The Lions will milk the clock.

80.00: TRY! GAME OVER! Skosan finishes under the posts after Dyanthi’s break on the left-hand sideline. The try settles this ding-dong battle. 36-29

81.00: CONVERSION! Jantjies adds another two. 38-29


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The final score is Lions 38 (14) Highlanders 29 (12)


Tries – Coetzee, Smith (2), Reynolds, Skosan
Pen – Jantjies
Con – Jantjies (5)
Drop –
Cards –

Tries – Tomkinson, Franklin, Hyland, Faddes, J. Ioane
Pen –
Con – J. Ioane, Hollinshead
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant Ref 1: Jaco Peyper
Assistant Ref 2: Griffin Colby
TMO: Willie Vos



15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Courtnall Skosan, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Kwagga Smith, 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Stephan Lewies, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Malcolm Marx (Captain), 1 Dylan Smith.

Replacements: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Sti Sithole, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Vincent Tshituka, 20 Hacjivah Dayimani, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Shaun Reynolds, 23 Tyrone Green.


15 Matt Faddes, 14 Sio Tomkinson, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Teihorangi Walden, 11 Jordan Hyland, 10 Josh Ioane, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Shannon Frizell, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Luke Whitelock (captain), 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Josh Dickson, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Ayden Johnstone.

Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Jack Whetton, 20 Elliot Dixon, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Daniel Hollinshead, 23 James Lentjes.

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