South Africa’s Lions host the second Super Rugby semi-final at altitude in Johannesburg against the Waratahs, who they have beaten in their last three matches.
The Lions have already played the Waratahs this season, winning 29-0 in Sydney. It was the Waratahs biggest loss this season.
- The Lions have won their last three games on the bounce against the Waratahs while the New South Wales squad had won each of their six meetings prior.
- The Lions come into this game on the back of a brace of wins, the last time they won more was a three-game glut to open the current campaign.
- This will be the Waratahs‘ eighth Super Rugby semi-final, with results alternating across their previous seven appearances (W3, L4); the NSW club last appeared at this stage in a 2015 defeat to the Highlanders.
- The Lions have beaten 27 defenders per game this season, more than any other team in the competition.
- Israel Folau has scored seven tries in his last five games in a Waratahs jersey in South Africa, as well as contributing two try assists in that span.
We are waiting for the kick-off.
This is a huge game for the Lions, they have lost the last two finals and will want another shot against the Crusaders next weekend.
Harold Vorster runs out alone for his 50th cap, followed by his skipper Warren Whitely and the rest of the boys.
1.00: The Tahs are on the field and we are underway in the City of Gold. Bernard Foley kicks deep and Elton Jantjies returns with interest.
2.00: Curtis Rona carries strong, but the Lourens Erasmus competes on the ground, wins the turnover and penalty.
3.00: The first lineout goes astray for the Lions, but another turnover sees the hosts counter. The move breaks down and the Tahs have the lineout.
4.00: TRY! Great start for the visitors. Ned Hanigan is over for the game’s first try. Kurtley Beale’s cut-out pass is shifted to the sideline for the flanker, who beats the thin defence and scores. 0-5
6.00: CONVERSION! Foley kicks his 254th point of the campaign from the sideline. He’s not the competition’s top points scorer for nothing.
7.00: Lionel Mapoe can’t intercept the pass, instead, he loses the ball forward. First scrum to the Waratahs.
8.00: TRY! Israel Folau finishes off another wonderful attack. Beale is dominating at first receiver. Foley is at 12 on most of the attacks and their looping switch-play is unstoppable. They have started where they left off last week against the Highlanders. 0-12
10.00: CONVERSION! Foley makes no mistake. 0-14
12.00: The Lions have got their driving maul going. It has advanced 40 metres before the ball is sent wide. Malcolm Marx carries but is put backwards. Nick Phipps steals the ball and sends it down the field. wonderful defending by the Aussies.
14.00: The Lions go nine phases and win a penalty for offsides. Kwagga Smith started the move with a beasting run and fend. Jantjies kicks to the corner.
16.00: The Tahs counter-attack, Ruan Combrinck intercepts and the Lions, through Ross Cronje, go again. The hosts win another penalty and Jantjies kicks a superb kick to the corner.
17.00: Great maul defence by the Sydney men; they win a penalty after Vorster doesn’t release, and Foley can send the ball deep.
18.00: Phipps wins a penalty at the breakdown. The Tahs are dominating the collisions and the rucks; great work again by the scrumhalf.
19.00: Now it’s Hanigan who is pinged for going off his feet. It earns the Lions a reprieve. The pace of the match is fast and loose.
20.00: Not sure the visitors will be able to sustain this pace at altitude. We saw the Jaguares take a two-try lead, only for it to be clawed back and rinsed.
21.00: TRY! Kwagga Smith with another barnstorming run sees off the defenders and crashes over the whitewash. Here we go! 5-14
22.00: MISS! Jantjies with a poor kick shaves the post. 5-14
25.00: Folau looks to have knocked on Foley’s short 22-dropout, but the ref doesn’t see it. The Tahs win a penalty and Foley clears to the Lions 10m.
27.00: Marx intercepts and charges down the park. He takes a tackle, the ball is grubbered to Folau, who starts a counter-attack.
27.00: TRY! Sensational try by Aphiwe Dyantyi. The youngster gathers inside his 22, runs out, chips and chases his kick, burns Foley and runs 50 metres to score – stunning. 10-14
27.00: CONVERSION! Jantjies converts one of the tries of the season. 12-14
30.00: A reset scrum takes place at halfway. Huge scrum by the Lions earns them a penalty. It’s starting to go wrong for the Australians.
32.00: attacking scrum for the hosts inside the Tahs 22. It will be reset. Already a big moment in this game.
34.00: Lions win a free-kick. Whiteley takes it quickly, the ball is punched up. Franco Mostert takes a crash-ball and ghosts through to score under the posts. However, Mostert touches the ball forward, then regained off Marvin Orie. Try is overturned. Lucky for the Tahs, but we’ve seen this movie before.
35.00: Phipps is pinged at the ruck. The Lions have a meeting about taking the points or rumbling the Waratahs with a driving maul – Jantjies kicks to touch.
35.00: TRY! The Lions rumble the Tahs, get a penalty advantage, but they don’t need it. Marx gets up with the ball and a huge smile on his face. 17-14
37.00: CONVERSION! Jantjies adds the sideline conversion. 19-14
39.00: TRY! Tom Robertson scores after a sneaky lineout move. Good decision not to take the points by Foley. 19-all
40.00: MISS! Foley, taking his time, misses a sitter. 19-all
The halftime score was Lions 19 Waratahs 19
41.00: PEEEEP! We are back underway in this semi-final.
42.00: Dyantyi is replaced by Courtnall Skosan with a hamstring injury.
45.00: Another massive scrum by the Lions, who wins another scrum-penalty.
46.00: Phipps is tackled, losing the ball forward. Mostert gathers and the Lions attack. They get a penalty for Jed Holloway being offside. Whiteley opts for posts.
47.00: MISS! Jantjies hits the post from in front; what is he doing? He takes his kicks quickly, and that is not wise.
48.00: Holloway is pinged again for a no-arms tackle. The Lions take a quick-tap and are outside the 22.
49.00: Holloway strips the ball from Jacques van Rooyen, Foley kicks deep, and Combrinck’s kick is poor, giving the Waratahs a lineout inside the Lions 22. It’s all very messy by the Lions.
50.00: Marx, who else, wins the penalty at the breakdown – what a player!
52.00: Marx’s throw is skew. Scrum for the visitors.
53.00: Kwagga Smith wins the battle at the breakdown, winning the penalty after Michael Wells is caught holding.
54.00: Obstruction by the Lions, but Glen Jackson was playing advantage. Jantjies calls for the tee.
55.00: PENALTY! Jantjies can’t miss from 10 metres in front. 22-19
57.00: YELLOW CARD! Damien Fitzpatrick is off for 10.
58.00: TRY! Marx gets another after another powerful driving maul. 27-19
60.00: MISS! OH DEAR! Another mistake from Jantjies. This time he starts his run-up, the ball falls over and he is too slow to take the drop-kick, and the Tahs charge the ball down. 27-19
62.00: The Lions win another penalty at the ruck. Cronje takes it quickly and jinks his way through the Tahs.
63.00: TRY! Kwagga Smith has a double. Smith spots that nobody is on the pillar-defence for NSW, and he runs in untouched. 32-19
64.00: CONVERSION! It’s good by the standoff. 34-19
66.00: Smith is caught offsides and the Tahs go quickly.
67.00: Lions win the turnover, the ball is hacked forward. Jantjies chases and tackles Foley, but the ref, watching a different game, awards a dodgy penalty against the flyhalf. Baffling call because Foley was held up in a maul and did not release.
70.00: Time is running out for the Australians, their lungs are burning and their legs filling with lactic acid, are tiring. Lots of hands on heads and hips.
73.00: Jantjies will attempt a rare long-range penalty from 53 metres.
74.00: PENALTY! The ball sails through the posts and wraps up this game. 37-19
76.00: TRY! Jake Gordon scores his sixth try of the season after taking Wells’ offload. 37-24
77.00: CONVERSION! Foley reduces the gap to 11. 37-26
79.00: TRY! Skosan collects Jantjies’ cross-kick and runs in untouched. 42-26
80.00: CONVERSION! Janjies adds another two off the posts. 44-26
81.00: Dillon Smit kicks the ball into touch.
The final score is Lions 44 (19) Waratahs 26 (19)
Tries – K. Smith (2), Dyantyi, Marx (2), Skosan
Pen – Jantjies (2)
Con – Jantjies (4)
Tries – Hanigan, Folau, Robertson, Gordon
Con – Foley (3)
Cards – Fitzpatrick, (Yellow, 57′)
Referee: Glen Jackson
Assistant Ref 1: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Ref 2: Rasta Rasivhenge
TMO: Marius Jonker
Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Lourens Erasmus, 6 Albertus Smith, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Marvin Orie, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16 Corne Fourie, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Hacjivah Dayimani, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Dillon Smit, 22 Courtnall Skosan, 23 Howard Mnisi.
Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Alex Newsome, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Bernard Foley (captain), 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Will Miller, 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Jed Holloway, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Tom Robertson.
Replacements: 16 Damien Fitzpatrick, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Brad Wilkin, 21 Jake Gordon, 22 Bryce Hegarty, 23 Cam Clark.