Injury ridden MTN Lions beat Southenr Kings in Port Elizabeth
The MTN Lions looked like running out of replacements at one point, but they remained calm and used their opportunities. Even when playing with 14 men. They managed to beat the Southern Kings -19-26 at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium infront of 27538 spectators in Port Elizabeth.
The Southern Kings came out in the first half like a team possessed and wanting to win. They played most of the rugby in the Lions half. The Lions defended with gusto and determination. Early one it was Demetri Catrakilis and Elton Jantjies trading penalties with the score soon 6-6. Then the Lions managed to get some field possession and two penalties converted by Jantjies. Some good defence by JC Janse van Rensburg saw the Lions stop a certain try. JC tackled the Kings player over the line, turned him and forced him out.
The Kings kept up the pressure and a good cross field kick by Catrakilis saw Marcello Sampson get the try in the corner. Catrakilis missed the conversion but then slotted a penalty to take back the lead 14-12. From the kick-off the Kings went straight back on attack. With a 3-1 overlap it was a matter of time before they scored, but Ctrakilis’ pass was intercepted by Stokkies Hanekom who scored under the posts. Jantjies converted to make it 14-19. This time round the Lions went back on attack from the kick-off. A knock on by Cronje however saw the teams going to halftime at 14-19 to the Lions.
After the break the Lions came out guns blazing and ready to play. The Kings defended well but handed jantjies an opportunity to kick at goal. He missed the penalty. The Lions would be concerned by the number of knocks and the replacement early on of players due to injury didn’t help much as it disrupted the side. The Kings didn’t make use of the advantage from an early scrum in the second half and SP Marais kicked it straight into touch.
The Kings went through a number of phases with quick ball and got with in 10m of the try line, but a knock on put pay to the attack and allowed the Lions to clear their line after a good scrum. The Kings got back on attack and again build up steadily, but didn’t protect the ball and conceded a penalty. From the kick the Lions won a 5m scrum as they missed touch, but Marais knocked the ball as he tried to stop the advancing Lions from picking it up and score.
The turning point in the game came when Catrakilis went off with what looked like a hand injury. From the scrum the Lions won a penalty and decided to take another scrum. After another scrum penalty and scrum taken the Lions just didn’t show enough patience and knocked the ball mere metres from the line. The Kings substituted the tighthead and hooker before the scrum was taken. The Lions still having the advantage as it was a defensive scrum for the Kings. The kic didn’t go out but they managed to turn over the ball and go on attack.stronge defence stopped them, but they got the penalty and Whitehead kicked it at the corner.
The Kings camped on the Lions line and tried to get over with their maul, but the Lions defended it brilliantly. Eventually a stray Kings boot allowed the Lions to get ouit of the danger area through a 22m drop-out. The kings screwed it up and handed the Lions the ball from a defensive lineout 5m out. End result hanekom scoring his second try and Jantjies converting it.
From the kick-off the kings attacked and it resulted in Dylan Des-Fontain being carded after numerous penalties conceded by the Lions. The Kings went for the corner once again as JC left the field due to a blood injury. Steven Sykes scored from the line-out but Whitehead missed the convertsion.
With 9 mintues left it was a 7 point ball game. The Lions down to 14 men and still attacking. The Kings tried everything to win the game and yet also everything to lose it. As The Frontrow Grunt put it in a tweet: “Sykes tells the fat lady to wind her neck in a bit … But then Whitehead hands her a violin” Bobby skinstad on the other hand just tried to see how much blame for the Lions loss he could hand to Jaco Peyper. Not the best of commentary and not to clever on the rules.
The Lions defended brilliantly in the last 10 minutes even while playing with just 14. And when they had the ball the protected it well. Something the Kings didn’t do. The kings will rue the shots at goal turned down as well as two missed conversions. The Lions had a drop goal attempt with 2 minutes to go but missed. Still they stayed in the Kings half after the drop-out. The Lions will be concerned with the number of injuries picked up in this game.
The final score 19-26 to the Lions. The kings do pick up a bonus point for losing with less than seven, but it must be advantage Lions as the teams head to Johannesburg next week.
Southern Kings 19 (14) – Tries:
Marcello Sampson, Steven Sykes. Conversions: Demtri Catrakilis (0/1), George Whitehead (0/1). Penalties: Catrakilis (3/3).
MTN Lions 26 (19) – Tries: Stokkies Hanekom (2). Conversions: Elton Jantjies (2/2). Penalties: Jantjies (4/5).
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