It was never going to be pretty after the torrential rain that fell before the match, and it turned out to be a comedy of errors and a real arm wrestle before the Lions prevailed 32-28 against the Pumas in their Preparation Series clash at Ellis Park on Friday night.
The Pumas outscored the Lions by three tries to two, with Pumas props Morgan Naude and Ig Prinsloo laying the foundation in the scrums.
In the end it turned out to be a game of chess between the flyhalves, with Lions pivot Tiaan Swanepoel kicking 22 points and his Pumas counterpart Eddie Fouche kicking 11 points, with his replacement kicker Ginter Smuts adding two.
The Lions team, loaded with U-21 players, probably would have been relieved with a half-time score of 13-13, which was probably not a fair reflection of the Pumas’ dominance.
Though the young Lions side looked solid in the opening phases in their tight exchanges, it was the Pumas’ greater cohesion and experience which set the tone.
The Lions were not going to stand back, however, as the Pumas enjoyed the better territory.
While the home team were blown up constantly by referee Jaco Peyper at the breakdown, as they failed to find any real momentum, they managed to hang on for a narrow victory.
Lions – Tries: Morne van den Berg, MJ Pelser. Conversions: Tiaan Swanepoel (2). Penalties: Swanepoel (6)
Pumas – Tries: Simon Westraadt, AJ le Roux, Ali Mgijima. Conversions: Eddie Fouche, Ginter Smuts. Penalties: Fouche (3)