Poor discipline by the Stormers, resulting in three cards, paved the way for a brave 26-23 win for the Lions in an ill-disciplined Super Rugby contest at Newlands on Saturday night.
A 37th minute yellow card to Stormers centre JJ Engelbrecht for a tip tackle on Lions fullback Andries Coetzee was the first sign of frustration getting the better of the Stormers.
In the 50th minute matters went from bad to worse as a late shoulder charge from Stormers left wing Raymond Rhule on Lions counterpart Ruan Combrinck resulted in a red card and the hosts with a dark cloud over their ill-discipline.
Worse was to follow as a yellow card by Stormers replacement flanker Jaco Coetzee for a late charge on Lions No 10 Elton Jantjies left the home side briefly with just 13 men on the park.
The Lions, laudably, took advantage.
Who was the star in this match?
Lions No 8 Kwagga Smith provided a vital turnover in the dying seconds of the game, showcasing his massive worth as a player. His inclusion in the Springboks squad is well deserved.
Key moments and themes
- The Stormers hit the ground running after just four minutes by taking the battle to the Lions, resulting in their opening try by scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenhage after a great tactical kick by flyhalf Jean-Luc du Plessis and superb collection by fullback Dillyn Leyds.
- The Lions hit back with their first try by scrumhalf Nic Groom in the 22nd minute after a Lions lineout drive to reduce the deficit. They caught the Stormers unawares, when they thought they were going for a maul drive and left a massive hole next to the ruck. Hooker Ramone Samuels was culpable.
- Both teams suffered big injury setbacks, with the Stormers losing lock Chris van Zyl after just seven minutes. Two minutes later, the Lions lost hooker Robbie Coetzee but, ironically, his replacement, Corne Fourie, played a huge role in the comeback.
- Despite the Lions’ stirring resurgence, Rhule’s red card raises the debate again on how detrimental the game is affected when a team has to permanently play with one man down. Does it ruin the spectacle?
Lions – Tries: Corne Fourie (2), Nic Groom, Madosh Tambwe. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (3).
Stormers – Tries: Dewaldt Duvenage, Raymond Rhule. Conversions: Jean-Luc du Plessis (2). Penalties: Du Plessis (3).