Rugby 21.4.2017 09:14 pm

Nutshell: Purring Lions escape against unlucky Jaguares

The Lions didn't have it their way at Ellis Park. Photo: AFP.

The Lions didn't have it their way at Ellis Park. Photo: AFP.

The Argentinians finally show they’re a Test-quality side in nearly upsetting the high-flying hosts, who suffered from poor execution.

Phew, that was close!

The Lions scraped to a narrow 24-21 over a quality Jaguares outfit in Johannesburg on Friday evening.

After a high of last week’s superb win at Newlands, this was a timely reality check for coach Johan Ackermann and his troops.

Who was the star in this match?

Lions blindsider Ruan Ackermann eventually had a storming game, making 14 tackles, carrying well and scoring the match-winning try. Jaguares captain and hooker Augustin Creevy was typically shrewd and influential but it was lock Guido Petti that stole the show. His work-rate was simply immense and his support play excellent.

Key themes and events

  • The old saying goes that a champion team is one that wins matches it probably didn’t deserve to. It definitely was the case for the Lions, who were plagued by poor handling, execution and decision-making.
  • Despite their reputation for being an attacking side, the Lions will have to re-look at their attacking structure. Two of their tries – from the centres Harold Vorster and Lionel Mapoe – were down to individual brilliance. Only Ruan Ackermann’s clincher was down to good teamplay. Flyhalf Elton Jantjies also needs to manage his game better, there were far too many needless “cute” kicks.
  • After two difficult weeks, the Jaguares finally showed they are a Test-quality team again. There was nice verve to their attacking play, they defended well and were nuisances at the breakdown.
  • But there’s a familiar downside to their play: discipline. The Jaguares again conceded a substantial 12 penalties, some of them truly preventable. They won’t make meaningful progress if they can’t cut down on their indiscretions.
  • The Lions’ game-plan is dependent on quick ball from the rucks. They’ll need to work on how to deal with disruptions, like the Jaguares provided.

Point scorers

Lions – Tries: Harold Vorster, Lionel Mapoe, Ruan Ackermann. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (3). Penalty: Jantjies.

Jaguares – Tries: Matias Orlando, Rodrigo Baez, Guido Petti. Conversions: Nicolas Sanchez (3).

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