Rugby 15.4.2017 07:22 pm

Nutshell: Roaring Lions beat Stormers by not playing Lions rugby

The Lions' Ross Cronje won the scrumhalf battle by managing the game brilliantly. Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images.

The Lions' Ross Cronje won the scrumhalf battle by managing the game brilliantly. Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images.

Champion sides are ones that can play different styles of rugby. Johan Ackermann’s troops did that brilliant at Newlands.

The Lions played like a side capable of winning Super Rugby by beating the Stormers 29-16 at Newlands on Saturday.

The hallmark of a great side is one that is adaptable and the Lions did exactly that – tackling brilliantly and focusing on counterattacking opportunities.

And even more importantly, they still managed a bonus point for scoring four tries to the home side’s one.

Who was the star in this match?

Harold Vorster had to replace an influential player of the calibre of Rohan Janse van Rensburg after five minutes. He rose to the challenge superbly. Apart from his superb try, which gave the Lions a foothold, he marshalled the midfield well and defended tightly. The Lions pack was also powerful.

Key themes and events

  • It’s a strange thing to say but this is the first time in two years that the Lions showed they can be really adaptable. Don’t be fooled by the four tries they scored, this was a game where they merely took their chances and defended magnificently. There was nothing “running rugby” about their performance.
  • Vorster’s try in the 14th minute and replacement fullback Sylvian Mahuza’s score illustrated the Lions’ prudent approach. Vorster merely ran a fabulous line from a scrum and Mahuza exploited the blindside and nice handling. The Lions only ran 221m in this game but when they got in position, they made it count.
  • The Stormers’ conditioning probably caught up with them after last week’s superb win over the Chiefs. They ran out of ideas, made 27 handling errors and didn’t have the strength to dominate the collisions. It’s not a bad thing, just an important lesson.
  • The Lions had been criticised for neglecting defence over the past few months but the watertight system of 2015 is still clearly in place. Every player tackled well. One crucial period was when they kept out the Stormers for 10 minutes after half-time.

Point scorers

Lions – Tries: Malcolm Marx, Harold Vorster, Jaco Kriel, Sylvian Mahuza. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (3). Penalty: Jantjies.

Stormers – Try: Dyllin Leyds. Conversion: Robert du Preez. Penalties: SP Marais (2), Du Preez.

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