Advantage Lions in relegation scrap
- 26 Jul 2013
The Lions beat the Southern Kings 26-19 on Friday to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match Super Rugby promotion-relegation series.
The Lions are now just one match away from securing their place in the 2014 competition. The Kings will need to win next week's match in Johannesburg by eight points, and ensure that they don't concede four tries, to prevent the Lions from advancing.
Lions centre Stokkies Hanekom scored two important tries in each half, while Elton Jantjies was in fine form with the goal-kicking boot.
The Kings were ahead 14-12 in the dying stages of the first half when Hanekom intercepted a pass by Demetri Catrakilis and raced 80 metres to score. Jantjies' conversion gave the visitors a 19-14 lead at half-time.
The Kings lost Catrakilis to an arm injury after half-time and their struggles at the set pieces and collisions prevented them from operating on the front foot.
They had a great opportunity to narrow the deficit when one of their rare ventures into the opposition's 22 yielded a penalty. They opted to kick for touch, but lost possession and botched a scoring opportunity.
The Lions blew several scoring chances of their own, but they crossed the line in the 68th minute when Jantjies found Hanekom with a flat pass. The television replay showed the pass to be forward, but the try stood and Jantjies's conversion put Lions into a commanding 26-14 lead.
The Kings came back with a late try from Steven Sykes, but this only narrowed the deficit. This could prove to be an important score in the context of the series, as the aggregate score will determine who advances if both sides finish the two-game contest with an equal number of log points.
But the advantage is with the Lions. They picked up an unlikely win in Port Elizabeth and will be favourites to win next week's encounter at their home ground of Ellis Park.
Kings – Tries: Marcello Sampson, Steven Sykes. Penalties: Demetri Catrakilis (3).
Lions – Tries: Stokkies Hanekom (2). Conversions: Elton Jantjies (2). Penalties: Jantjies (4).
Kings – 15 SP Marais, 14 Marcello Sampson, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Shane Gates, 11 Hadleigh Parkes, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Wimpie van der Walt, 6 Cornell du Preez, 5 David Bulbring, 4 Darron Nell (c), 3 Kevin Buys, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Subs: 16 Grant Kemp, 17 Hannes Franklin, 18 Steven Sykes, 19 Devin Oosthuizen, 20 Nicolas Vergallo, 21 George Whitehead, 22 Waylon Murray.
Lions – 15 Ruan Combrinck, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Stokkies Hanekom, 12 Dylan des Fountain, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Vian van der Watt, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg (c).
Subs: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Willie Britz, 19 Warwick Tecklenburg, 20 Ross Kemp 21 Marnitz Boshoff, 22 Chrysander Botha.
Photo: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images
Juan adds value to sevens
Juan de Jongh has added a different dimension to the Blitzboks side since making his return to the sevens scene, writes CRAIG LEWIS.
Aplon’s pulling his weight
Gio Aplon’s size has not counted against him in France, writes GAVIN MORTIMER.
Time against new Bok coach
The late appointment of the next Springbok coach will hamper preparations and planning ahead of an important season for the Test side, writes JON CARDINELLI.