Lions hold their breath after beating Stormers

Henry

In the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday, the Lions kicked open the door in all probability to advance to the knock-out rounds of the United Rugby Championship.

The Lions were beaten 29-24 by the Stormers after the Johannesburgers were ahead 21-12 at half-time. But the Lions won a bonus point because they lost by less than seven points. This could be their passport to the knockout rounds.

The Lions (50 points) moved up to eighth in the standings ahead of Edinburgh. Edinburgh’s cap was beaten 31-6 by Benetton in Treviso.

The Lions are now eighth and can only be overtaken by the Ospreys if they achieve a bonus point victory over Cardiff later on Saturday afternoon. The Ospreys will then also have 50 points, but finish ahead of the Lions because they have won one more game.

The Lions could certainly have won, because the Stormers played with only 14 players for almost 30 minutes in the second half after Angelo Davids was sent off with a red card when he hit the Lions’ flyhalf Sanele Nohamba’s head after a high tackle.

If the Lions make it through, they will now play alongside the Bulls and Stormers in the knockout rounds.

But after the Sharks won the European Challenge Cup Series final against Gloucester last Saturday, they will be playing in place of the team who finished eighth in the HRC in next season’s Champions Cup Series.

The Stormers scored four tries on Saturday and the Lions just two.

The Lions were much more conservative with so much on the line. That’s why they instead went to the posts after penalty kicks, because they wanted to win first and then think about a bonus point.

The Lions continued in the scrum, where the referee Marius van der Westhuizen did not hesitate to punish especially Morgan Naudé (four times).

Then the center Marius Louw also conceded a yellow card.

This followed after Davids hit Nohamba on the head. Louw rushed in and knocked Davids off his feet, which led to a riot.

Yes, you stand up for your teammates, but was it necessary to lose your temper playing with 14 men for ten minutes?

The Stormers’ pack of forwards made the difference, with Evan Roos at the helm.

At the back, Manie Libbok, Dan du Plessis, Davids and Sacha Feinberg-Mngomezulu were full of plans.

Scorers: Stormers 29 (12): Tries: Andre-Hugo Venter, Angelo Davids, Evan Roos, Adré Smith. Goals: Manie Libbok (3). Penalty Goal: Libbok

Lions 24 (21): Tries: Francke Horne, JC Pretorius. Goal kick: Jordan Hendrikse. Penalty goals: Hendrikse (4).