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Emirates Lions show class beating Crusaders

Emirates Lions will play the Highlanders in the semi-finals on Saturday.

THE Emirates Lions showed they are a classy side when they roared past the mighty BNZ Crusaders.

The local side beat the New Zealanders 42-25 in the quarter-finals of 2016 Vodacom Super Rugby tournament on Saturday, July 23.

Emirates Lions will now host another NZ side, the Highlanders, on Saturday, July 30, at home.

Saturday’s match will kick-off at 15:00 at Emirates Airline Park.

In the other semi-final match, the Hurricanes will host the Chiefs after both teams won their play-off matches over the weekend. The Hurricanes defeated the Cell C Sharks 41-0 in Wellington while the Chiefs posted a 60-21 win over the DHL Stormers in their late Saturday fixture in Cape Town. The Hurricanes match starts at 09:35 SA time.

The Highlanders were the first team to book their place in the semi-finals when they edged the Brumbies 15-9 on Friday morning (SA time) in Canberra.

Emirates Lions have now won their last five games on home soil, which is their longest home winning streak in a single season.

Early in the match Emirates Lions blew hot and cold and dotted down for the first try of the afternoon. Courtnall Skosan scored the first of five tries in the opening minute of the match. They dominated the early exchanges and scored their second try when centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg crashed over from close range. Flyhalf Elton Jantjies converted and added a penalty to hand the Emirates Lions an early 15-0 lead.

As any team from New Zealand can do, BNZ Crusaders showed their strength and came hard and fast at the Johannesburg outfit. A Richie Mo’unga penalty and a try from centre Ryan Crotty saw this mighty side coming back just before halftime. But the home side turned down a kickable penalty for a line-out. The decision paid off when hooker Malcolm Marx crashed over for a converted try to hand his side a deserved 22-10 halftime lead.

In the second half, Mo’unga kicked over a penalty and Jantjies responded with a snap drop kick to increase the home side’s lead. After another Jantjies penalty the Crusaders scored again through Mitchell Drummond (28-20).

But the Highveld side finished with a strong effort which yielded two converted tries from Ruan Combrinck and Ross Cronje, to secure them a home semi-final against the Highlanders.


Emirates Lions (22) 42 – Tries: Courtnall Skosan, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Malcolm Marx, Ruan Combrinck, Ross Cronje. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (4). Penalties: Jantjies (2). Drop goal: Jantjies.

Crusaders (10) 25 – Try: Ryan Crotty, Mitchell Drummond, Ben Volavola. Conversion: Richie Mo’unga (2). Penalties:Mo’unga (2).

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