LIONS RETURN TO SUPER RUGBY WITH A LAST GASP WIN
The Lions returned to Super Rugby, after a season in the wilderness, with a last gasp win over the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein. The Cheetahs led for most of the game until Marnitz Boshoff landed a drop goal in the 78th minute to steal the win.
The game started of with the Cheetahs playing at a frantic pace and they soon had opportunities to take the lead. Returning Springbok flyhalf, Johan Goosen however missed three opportunities from the kicking tee. Boshoff landed his first kick and the Lions took the lead. Goosen then seemed to find his kicking boots and soon the scores were tied.
Then came a penalty 5 meters from the Lions tryline. A penalty it must be said that had even the Cheetahs supporters scratching their heads. Lionel Mapoe was the tackle assist and the Lions hooker came in to rip the ball. Craig Joubert ruled that the Lions Nr2 was the tackle assist. The Lions did however manage to turn over the ball, but then handed it back to Willie le Roux. He in turn put Raymond Rhule away to score the first try of the 2014 season. From here on in it was all the Cheetahs with the Lions playing catch-up rugby.
Boshoff managed to land two more penalties before the break to take the teams in at 10-9 to the Cheetahs. Both coaches must have had hard words for their players as the handling and unforced errors were mounting.
After the break the home side came out looking the better side, nut the Lions kept up with them. It was once again the brilliance of Le Roux that saw Cornal Hendricks score the Cheetahs’ second try. Boshoff kept on landing penalties to keep the Lions in reach. Elgar Watts Extended the lead back to 5 points before a Cheetahs player lost the plot. As Boshoff kicked the ball he received a charge with a leading hip. The charge was so late, the player was plating next week’s game when he took of. Craig Joubert deemed it to be dangerous and a yellow card followed.
This allowed Boshoff to get the Lions back within two. Watts had the opportunity to once again extend the Cheetahs lead to 5 points, but missed a sitter from just left of the uprights and about 15 meters out. It was after this that Boshoff landed the winning drop goal.
The Cheetahs will rue the missed changes that they had. A total of 12 points were missed by their kickers. Their handling errors also added to their frustrations. Naka Drotske will not be a happy coach.
Johan Ackermann will be happy with the way his team’s season has started. There is nothing better than a win away from home. It might not have been a pretty win full of tries, in fact they score none, but a ugly win is much better than a pretty loss.
Toyota Cheetahs 20 – Tries: Raymond Rhule, Cornal Hendricks. Conversions: Johan Goosen (2/2). Penalties: Goosen (1/4), Elgar Watts (1/2).
Lions 21 – Penalties: Marnitz Boshoff (6/6). Drop goal: Boshoff (1/1).