The Stormers scored a last-gasp try after the hooter to snatch a 33-30 victory over the Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday. DYLAN JACK reports.
It was the Stormers’ first win in Johannesburg since 2015 and just their second win against the Lions in seven Vodacom Super Rugby games.
In a high-intensity encounter on a warm afternoon at Ellis Park, the Stormers looked set for their first defeat of the season until Ruhan Nel finished off an attack started by Sergeal Petersen.
John Dobson’s side, who came into the game having not conceded a point in their first two wins, looked set for their first loss of the season as the Lions came back from a 26-15 deficit to lead 30-26 going into the closing stages.
At that stage, it appeared as if they possibly did not give themselves enough of a buffer going into the final 20 minutes at altitude, as the Lions predictably upped the tempo and were rewarded.
An excellent try from Elton Jantjies, who later held his nerve to slot a long-range penalty, brought the home side back into the contest. It was then that former Stormers player and centre Dan Kriel finished off to put the Lions ahead.
Given the nature of their overall performance, the Stormers would have been delighted with the win. Away from the scrum, they were by no means anywhere near their best as their backline looked a bit one-dimensional in the first half and made far too many handling errors.
They were also well matched at the lineout as Lions lock Marvin Orie in particular poached a few when his side was under pressure.
The Lions were well within their rights to say that they deserved the win. They did look the more threatening of the two sides, particularly after Hacjivah Dayimani and Wandisile Simelane came on to the field, giving them extra pace out wide.
As a positive, the Stormers would have been happy with the return to action of Juarno Augustus. The No 8 completed the full 80 minutes and apart from his try, which came from a typical short-range burst, he carried strongly and looked fit as he drifted into the wide channels.
Lions – Tries: Andries Coetzee, Courtnall Skosan, Elton Jantjies, Dan Kriel. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (2). Penalties: Jantjies (2).
Stormers – Tries: Juarno Augustus, Godlen Masimla, Sergeal Petersen, Ruhan Nel. Conversions: Damian Willemse, Jean-Luc du Plessis. Penalties: Willemse (3).
Lions – 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Tyrone Green, 13 Manie Rass, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies (c), 9 Morne van den Berg, 8 Len Massyn, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Pieter Jansen, 1 Dylan Smith.
Subs: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Sti Sithole, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Hacjivah Dayimani, 22 Dillon Smit, 23 Wandisile Simelane.
Stormers – 15 Dillyn Leyds, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Seabelo Senatla, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Godlen Masimla, 8 Juarno Augustus, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Johan du Toit, 5 Chris van Zyl, 4 Salmaan Moerat, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff (c).
Subs: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Ali Vermaak, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Cobus Wiese, 21 Ernst van Rhyn, 22 Paul de Wet, 23 Jean-Luc du Plessis.
Photo: Gordon Arons/Gallo Images