In front of a crowd of just over 15 000 people, the Lions kept their Super Rugby playoff dreams alive with a lively 41-22 bonus point win over the Stormers at Ellis Park on Saturday evening..
Nine tries were scored in the game, illustrating the Lions’ attacking intent from the start and were generally given a platform by their opponents.
That said, the Stormers certainly never gave up after it seemed they might be overwhelmed and will rue some soft moments that prevented them from really giving the hosts a fright.
Who was the star in this match?
This was the kind of game that was always going to suit the game of Lions flanker Kwagga Smith, who at times ripped the Stormers defence apart. He was rewarded with a brace and probably should’ve claimed a hat-trick had he not spilled a kick forward with the line at his mercy. Yet he also made 15 tackles and three turnovers, showing just what a valuable player he is to the Lions’ cause.
Key moments and themes
- A productive 17 minute period after half-time proved vital in the final result, with the Lions scoring a flurry of three tries from Smith (his second) and wings Courtnall Skosan and Aphiwe Dyantyi in the 17 minutes, which transformed the scored from 13-10 to 34-17 to put some real daylight between the sides.
- While some of their attacking play was admittedly outstanding, the Lions’ trump card was their dominance at the breakdown. They made no less than eight turnovers, some of them absolutely crucial. Marnus Schoeman’s intervention in the 75th minute, with the Stormers threatening to reduced the gap to just five points, was a vivid example.
- The Stormers probably got their tactics wrong in this game. They had played more attacking rugby in the past few weeks, with some positive results, but could’ve kept things a bit tighter at stages. They dominated the first 10 minutes before playing too loose … and into the Lions’ hands.
Lions – Tries: Kwagga Smith (2), Andries Coetzee, Courtnall Skosan, Aphiwe Dyantyi, Hacjivah Dayimani. Conversions: Shaun Reynolds (3). Penalty: Reynolds.
Stormers – Tries: Johan du Toit, Herschel Jantjies, Josh Stander. Conversions: Josh Stander (2). Penalty: Stander.