Herschel Jantjies scored a try after the hooter to help the Stormers beat the Lions 19-17 at Newlands on Saturday. JON CARDINELLI reports.
This game was high on drama and low on quality. In the end – or rather well into stoppage time – the Stormers managed to get over the tryline through replacement scrumhalf Jantjies.
From there, SP Marais kicked the conversion that gave the Stormers their first win of the season and the beleaguered franchise a bit of respite.
#SuperRugby – RESULT:
Stormers 19-17 Lions
DRAMATIC FINISH AT NEWLANDS!
A last-gasp try from Herschel Jantjies has won it at the death for the Stormers. pic.twitter.com/JyccC1fsK8
— SuperSport (@SuperSportTV) February 23, 2019
It’s hard to believe that these two teams were involved in the largely successful Superhero Sunday event at Cape Town Stadium three weeks ago. On that occasion, a capacity crowd looked on as the Lions beat the Sharks and the Stormers tamed a Springbok-laden Bulls side.
While that was a day for South African rugby to remember, the fixture at Newlands was one to forget. Both teams were guilty of poor decision-making and handling, and the Stormers’ discipline was nothing short of diabolical.
As few as 14,831 fans turned out to watch the derby on Saturday. When the teams emerged from the tunnel, the similarities in their Marvel-inspired jerseys were embarrassingly clear. For 40 minutes, it was difficult to tell the sides apart. The Stormers changed into their away strip ahead of the second stanza.
The quality of the rugby was the real problem, though. The Stormers were more aggressive than accurate in their approach to the collisions and breakdowns, and gave away too many penalties in the first half.
As a result, the Lions’ enjoyed more territory and made two of their scoring chances count. After 19 minutes, the visitors enjoyed a 14-3 lead.
The Stormers never looked like scoring a try in the first half. SP Marais slotted a second penalty goal in the 29th minute.
Just when it appeared as if the hosts were building some momentum deep in Lions territory, prop Ali Vermaak was shown a yellow card for flying into a ruck from the side. The half ended with the Lions leading 14-6.
The Lions failed to ram their advantage home, though. The Stormers survived Vermaak’s period of sanction without conceding a point, and added three of their own through the boot of Marais.
Marais added a fourth penalty to further reduce the deficit. The game was in the balance at 14-12 to the Lions after 60 minutes.
The Stormers enjoyed a couple of chances to win the game at the death. Lions flank Marnus Schoeman was sin-binned for a cynical infringement at the lineout in the 77th minute.
The Lions defended desperately during this period, and conceded penalty after penalty. The Stormers looked to have blown their chance to win the game when the ball shot out of a scrum in front of the posts.
Jantjies reacted quickly, though, and found space around the side of the scrum. The Lions’ defence came across, but couldn’t stop the scrumhalf from scoring.
Lions – Tries: Kwagga Smith, Warren Whiteley. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (2). Penalty: Jantjies.
Stormers – 15 Damian Willemse, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 SP Marais, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (c), 5 JD Schickerling, 4 Chris van Zyl, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Ali Vermaak.
Subs: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Corné Fourie, 18 Neethling Fouche, 19 Eben Etzebeth, 20 Jaco Coetzee, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Josh Stander, 23 Dan du Plessis.
Lions – 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies 9 Nic Groom, 8 Warren Whiteley (c), 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Marvin Orie, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylan Smith.
Subs: 16 Pieter Jansen, 17 Sti Sithole, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Rhyno Herbst, 20 Hacjivah Dayimani, 21 Gianni Lombard, 22 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 23 Sylvian Mahuza
Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images