Marnitz Boshoff produced another flawless kicking display as the Lions thrashed the Stormers 34-10 at Ellis Park, writes SIMON BORCHARDT.
Boshoff, who kicked all 21 of the Lions' points in their surprise win against the Cheetahs last weekend, was just as good on Saturday night. The flyhalf slotted six penalties, three drop goals and a conversion for a 29-point haul, and defended well, most memorably when he stopped Duane Vermeulen from getting over from a 5m scrum.
In fact, the Lions as a team defended superbly, repelling wave after wave of Stormers' attack from the 20th minute onwards (the hosts had to make 114 tackles in the match, the visitors just 63) They did lose two players to the sin bin because of repeated infringements in the red zone, but still managed to keep the Stormers out. The visitors' attack was painfully predictable, though, as it has been in recent seasons, and they could do nothing with the 60% possession they enjoyed.
The Lions made the perfect start to the match when they sent the ball wide to captain Warren Whiteley, who broke through a gap between Manuel Carizza and Siya Kolisi, before putting Stefan Watermeyer away with an excellent pass. Boshoff kicked the conversion and then slotted two drop goals, the second from 50m out.
Demetri Catrakilis missed his first shot at goal, which was followed by two Boshoff penalties that made it 19-0 after 19 minutes.
When the Stormers had the chance to take an easy three points, they kicked for the corner and set up a lineout driving maul. Another penalty resulted in a similar attack and this time Scarra Ntubeni was driven over for a converted try. Boshoff then kicked his third penalty to give the Lions a 22-7 lead.
The Stormers pushed hard for a try just before the break, only for Steven Kitshoff to knock on, but Catrakilis's penalty gave them some reward.
Both sides lost their openside flanks during the first half, with Derick Minnie suffering a broken cheekbone and Schalk Burger hobbling off with what appeared to be a groin injury.
The Lions were reduced to 14 men early in the second half when Franco Mostert was yellow-carded for a ruck infringement inside the red zone. Soon after, Vermeulen broke away from a 5m scrum and was stopped by Boshoff. Siya Kolisi then had a go but knocked on in contact.
Boshoff's fourth penalty made it 25-10, which saw Catrakilis again kicking for the corner instead of at posts. No sooner was Mostert set to return to the field than Julian Redelinghuys was sent to the bin for the same thing.
But still the Stormers couldn't make their numerical supremacy count and Boshoff made them pay with his third drop goal and fifth penalty.
Lions – Try: Stefan Watermeyer. Conversion: Marnitz Boshoff. Penalties: Boshoff (6). Drop goals: Boshoff (3).
Stormers – Try: Scarra Ntubeni. Conversion: Demetri Catrakilis. Penalty: Catrakilis.
Lions – 15 Chrysander Botha, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Stefan Watermeyer, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Ruan Combrinck, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (c), 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Franco Mostert, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Subs: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 MB Lusaseni, 20 Warwick Tecklenburg, 21 Ross Cronjé, 22 JW Jonker, 23 Coenie van Wyk.
Stormers – 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Michael van der Spuy, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Damian de Allende, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Rynhardt Elstadt, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Subs: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Oliver Kebble, 18 Pat Cilliers, 19 Michael Rhodes, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Ryno Eksteen.
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images