The Lions kept their playoff hopes alive by beating the Stormers 41-22 in a fast-paced local derby in Johannesburg on Saturday evening – their first win over a South African team this year.
Only leading by 3 at the interval, the men from Jozi accelerated their efforts in the second half to post what became a comprehensive victory.
Kwagga Smith (2), Andries Coetzee, Courtnall Skosan, Aphiwe Dyantyi and Hacjivah Dayimani crossed the chalk while new flyhjalf Shaun Reynolds kicked four conversions and one penalty goal.
Smith was a menace in open play, of which there was plenty (something the visitors would come to rue) while Malcolm Marx once more led from the front by putting in a great shift.
Instead of pulling a “Sharks” and trying to shut down the home side, the Stormers seemed intent on trying to match the Lions in an open and expansive game. But they failed.
Despite being edged in the possession and territory stats, the Lions made full use of the space on offer, dominating the carries, metres run, line breaks, tackle breaks, and offloads on their way to six scintillating tries.
In comparison with the stats out of what many might deem to be the match of the weekend, if not the season, the Chiefs also scored 6 tries in their win against log leaders Crusaders in Suva, Fiji. And while also dominating the attacking stats, the Chiefs made close on 20 fewer carries than the Lions, and more than 300m LESS with ball in hand. Choosing instead to kick 14 more times than the Lions, and make those 300m via the boot!
It speaks to the Kiwi side’s more astute use of the boot, often looking to contest said ball, and hence their more efficient use of the ball when in hand.
Up front at Ellis Park, the Stormers decision to play converted flank, Cobus Wiese, at lock, with no lock on the bench, came back to bite them badly when both Wiese and Eben Etzebeth were forced from the field due to injury. Playing new hookers, both fairly light, only added to their woes, especially when starting hooker, Chad Solomon, was forced into playing flank in the second stanza. The result was a scrum that was on roller skates – 3 lost scrums and 2 (deserved) scrum penalties, despite sporting 3 incumbent Springbok props.
The Lions host the Hurricanes next weekend at Ellis Park, while the Stormers return to Cape Town where they will host the Sunwolves in the late Saturday afternoon clash.
A look at the match stats from Ellis Park:
- Points: LIO 41-22 STO
- Tries: LIO 6-3 STO
- Penalty goals: LIO 0-2 STO
- Goal kicking %: LIO 71% – 75% STO
- Possession: LIO 49% – 51% STO
- Territory: LIO 47% – 53% STO
- Ball in play: 34 minutes
- Ball Carries: LIO 123-101 STO
- Metres run: LIO 999-653 STO
- Metres per carry: LIO 8.1-6.5 STO
- Line breaks: LIO 9-2 STO
- Tackle breaks: LIO 8-3 STO
- Passes: LIO 178-139 STO
- Good Passes: LIO 92-158 STO
- Offloads: LIO 17-6 STO
- Rucks won: LIO 74-73 STO
- Mauls won: LIO 2-6 STO
- Turnovers conceded: LIO 14-11 STO
- Tackles made: LIO 137-135 STO
- Tackles missed: LIO 22-33 STO
- Dominant tackles: LIO 16-13 STO
- Tackle success: LIO 88% – 82% STO
- Tackle turnover: LIO 1-1 STO
- Turnovers won: LIO 1-4 STO
- Kicks from hand: LIO 16-15 STO
- Metres kicked: LIO 617-492 STO
- Metres per kick: LIO 39-33 STO
- Handling errors: LIO 14-13 STO
- Penalties conceded: LIO 10-9 STO (2 from scrums)
- Yellow cards: LIO 0-0 STO
First phase stats:
- Lineouts won: LIO 11-10 STO
- Lineouts stolen: LIO 1-0 STO
- Scrums won: LIO 1-6 STO
- Scrums lost: LIO 0-3 STO
- Own Kickoff won: LIO 0-0 STO
- Own Kickoff lost: LIO 5-8 STO
While in Suva, Fiji: Chiefs vs Crusaders
- Ball in play: 34 minutes
- Tries: CHI 6-4 CRU
- Ball Carries: CHI 104-99 CRU
- Metres run: CHI 680-634 CRU
- Metres per carry: CHI 6.5-6.4 CRU
- Kicks from hand: CHI 30-26 CRU
- Metres kicked: CHI 936-761 CRU
- Metres per kick: CHI 31-29 CRU