The clash between the Lions and Stormers was not one highlighted by the performances of the loose forwards featured in this week’s duel, writes JEREMY PROOME.
However, Derick Minnie was able to make some important contributions prior to being taken off the field with a broken cheekbone, with his counterpart Siya Kolisi lacking where he’s known to excel and was substituted eight minutes into the second half.
Minnie put in all the hard work off the ball in the opening 25 minutes, contesting frantically at the breakdowns and at one point forcing Kolisi and his captain, Schalk Burger, off their feet.
Minnie applied massive pressure at all the contact areas and put in some brave tackles on rampaging Stormers forwards. He was overshadowed by the brilliant game played by Lions No 8 Warren Whiteley, who showed leadership through his impressive runs, most notably the one which set up Stefan Watermeyer’s try and emphasised Kolisi’s defence lapse.
As expected, Kolisi was a key ball-carrier for the Stormers, but lost control of the ball in the opposition half twice, including during an all-important surge over the Lions’ tryline. His 48 minutes on the field featured no standout moments for the Cape side.
It’s impossible to attribute the Lions’ early lead to Minnie’s early efforts, but Kolisi’s underwhelming performance definitely left a gap for the home side to make their attacking statements.
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