Jarmans pick of the week
This week saw a do or die encounter between 2 South African teams which promised to serve up an exciting game. The Lions hosted the Stormers with the winner having a chance to make the play-off and the loser having to play for pride for the remainder of the season.
Although the Stormers started well they quickly found themselves behind in this one with the Lions heaping pressure on them with a lineout deep into the Stormers 22. From the resulting maul the Lions no.8 Kwagga Smith broke away and crashed over the line for their first score of the afternoon. The score 5-0 to the Lions who would add another 3 points in the 27th minute through the boot of Shaun Reynolds to make it 8-0 to the Lions.
The Stormers were finally on the scoreboard 6 minutes later in the 33rd minute when Josh Stander stepped up to kick a penalty for the away team, 8-3 the Stormers finally on the board after making most of the running in this game but not converting in the red zone(22 of the opponent).
The Lions struck again just before half time to seemingly take control of the game at that point. Some great individual play from Andries Coetzee shrugging off 5 would be tacklers to force his way over the tryline, 13-3 and the game getting away from the Stormers. The away team had an instant reply as the Stormers managed a multi-phase passage of play. The ball eventually found its way to Herchel Jantjies who found a half gap but he was brought down and as he went down he threw a speculative pass to no one in particular really but Dillyn Leyds read it perfectly and snapped up the bouncing ball and put Johan Du Toit into a gap and he had an easy run in to the line, Stander made no mistake with the easy conversion and it was 13-10 at the break.
The second half began in much the same vein as the first with the Lions in the ascendency and after great play from the Lions center Lionel Mapoe down the right wing showing great pace to take the ball all the way through to the Stormers 22, he threw an inside pass to Andries Coetzee who was tackled just short of the line, but from the resulting ruck Kwagga Smith only had Herschel Jantjies to beat and had way too much strength for the young scrum half as he easily scored in the corner. Reynolds converted the try to make it 20-10 to the Lions after 45minutes played.
The Lions then extended their lead 2 minutes later, some great defensive work from the Stormers saw them win a penalty in their own 22 and instead of kicking the ball down field they spotted and opportunity for a quick tap. They ran the ball well with forwards and backs linking up well and it looked as if we would see on of the tries of the season until they threw one pass too many and the Lions had a chance to counter now through Lionel Mapoe, he passed the ball to Vincent Tshituka who showed great strength and skill to first burst through a half gap then pop the ball back to Mapoe who was away down the right once again he was tackled just before the 22 of the Stormers but managed to hold the ball up long enough to get a pass away to Courtnall Skosan who had the easiest of run ins as he jogged over the whitewash for the score, Reynolds again making the conversion meant the home team now had a 17 point lead but with their shaky defense this season would it be enough?
The Stormers struck back just 4 minutes after the Lions had scored with Herschel Jantjies making a clever play by dotting the ball down on the padding surrounding the up right to score after some great work by the forwards bashing the ball up, phase after phase eventually creating the gap for the Stormers scrum half to dive for the up right, stander nailed the conversion and it was a ten point game again with over 25 minutes to play, 27-17 the scoreline.
The Stormers needed to be the next team to score but that wasn’t to be the case as the Lions backs showed great hands to get the ball wide to Aphiwe Dyantyi who turned on the afterburners to get away from Jantjies and score the try for the Lions, Reynolds converted to get back the 17 point advantage at 34-17.
The Stormers replied with a try in the 66th minute after some good pressure from the away team having multiple cracks at the line of the Lions the pressure eventually told with a slightly wider attack Stander ran a great cut line and was found by a great little pop pass from Jean-luc Du Plessis and Stander managed to bundle his way over the line to reduce the deficit to 12 points and if they could score twice in the last 15 minutes would pull off a great come back. It wasn’t to be though as the Lions managed to repel all that was thrown at them and in the 78th minute added the cherry on the cake. Tyrone Green breaking through the Stormers defense found his captain Malcom Marx who showed great presence of mind to throw a one handed pass to Hacjivah Dayimani who cantered in for the score, Reynolds for the final time added the extras as the Lions ran out comfortable victors in this one 41-22.
Sharks VS Hurricanes
The Sharks on their home patch would be confident but they have lost there this season to the Jaguares so the Canes were by no means underdogs in this clash. The Hurricanes started the better side and scored 2 tries either side of 2 penalties from Beauden Barrett, the try scorers were Jordie Barrett and Ngani Laumape. The Sharks scored a try of their own just before the first half ended through Aphelele Fassi. Curwin Bosch made no mistake with the boot to make it 20-10 just before the break.
The Sharks started well in the second half scoring first through Jaun Schoeman with Bosch adding the extras they were now right back in the game. However the Canes would go on to score 13 unanswered points after that through the boot of Beauden Barrett and a 5 pointer from Wes Goosen to win easily in the end 33-17.
Blues VS Bulls
The Bulls traveled to Auckland to take on the Blues who were looking to bounce back after defeat to the Crusaders the week before. The teams traded penalties early on and then later in the half traded tries too as they scored one a piece. The Blues try scorer Ofa Tu’ungafasi and Handro Liebenberg for the Bulls the teams separated at the break by only the conversion by Harry Plummer; 10-8.
The Blues added 2 more unconverted tries and a penalty in the second half from first Scott Scrafton and then Akira Ioane. The Bulls however added 2 converted tries of their own through Cornal Hendricks and Manie Libbok to draw the side’s level with 4 minutes to play, this one though would end in a draw 22-22 at the final whistle.