The Lions were brought down to earth as they saved their poorest Super Rugby performance of the year for the Reds in Brisbane on Saturday as they were bullied in contact and lost 27-22 in their Super Rugby clash.
Two tries in the last three minutes by Lions replacement flanker Marnus Schoeman gave some respectability to the final scoreline, and at least earned them a valuable losing bonus point.
Staging a brave second-half fightback, the Lions had to wait until the 55th minute to get on the scoreboard when hooker Malcolm Marx forced his way over after a rolling maul to trail 27-5. Five minutes later he crossed over in the same vein to trail by 15 but with too much to do.
Too much damage had been done in the first half as the Lions simply couldn’t do anything right. They lost lineout ball, they conceded ball in contact, missed tackles and appeared rattled from a physical Reds approach in defence.
The Lions, trailing 24-0 at the break after conceding four first-half tries, conceded six first-half penalties to just one from the Reds. Even in their traditional strength, the scrums, they failed to gain any kind of dominance.
Key Player of the Game
Reds prop JP Smith was a tower of strength in the tight loose for the home side the whole game long and, apart from scoring his team’s first try after just two minutes from a rolling maul, he gave his Lions opposite number Ruan Dreyer a torrid time in the scrums and earned a couple of valuable scrum penalties for his side.
Key Moments of the Game
- The Reds rocked the Lions with the opening try by prop JP Smith inside the opening two minutes after a maul that resulted from a loose pass from scrumhalf Dillon Smit. Reds centre Samau Kerevi chipped Lions wing Madosh Tambe and was bundled into touch on his own try line.
- The Reds went further up 10-0 in the 11th minute after another Smit pass was intercepted by Reds No 8 Celeb Timu, who had a clear sprint to the line. Were it not for flyhalf Hamish Stewart missing both conversions, the damage could have been more severe.
- Two more Reds tries in the 27th minute by hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa and veteran flanker George Smith in the 40th for a 24-0 lead at the break were the direct result of Lions mistakes and the Reds taking advantage of errors on defence from a Lions team that appeared to lack direction and were clueless.
- Ringing the changes after the break, Lions replacements such as flank Cyle Brink, prop Dylan Smith, flyhalf Ashlon Davids and scrumhalf Nic Groom brought some fire but they were having to play too much catch-up rugby and it was a day best forgotton by the Lions.
Red: Tries: JP Smith, Caleb Timu, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, George Smith, conversions: Filipo Dauguna (2), penalty: Dauguna.
Lions: Tries: Malcolm Marx (2), Marnus Schoeman (2), Conversions: Elton Jantjies (1).