Jarman’s pick of the week
Chiefs VS Lions
The pick of the week undoubtedly has to go to the only SA team that managed a win. The Lions came up against a Chiefs side that this season has failed to impress. The Lions have been largely inconsistent this season but were looking for an away victory to perhaps kick start their campaign.
It was the Lions who started strongly in this one early pressure leading to points in the form of 2 penalties from the boot of Elton Jantjies 6-0 with 29 minutes played. The Lions making early inroads continued on that path in the 35th minute when Carlu Sadie crashed over for the first try of the game after the Lions had put tremendous pressure on the Chiefs just 2 meters from the tryline. Jantjies nailed the conversion to make it 13-0 to the tourists. Things would go from bad to worse for the home side as just 4 minutes later the Lions were in again this time it was Aphiwe Dyantyi latching onto a kick from his captain Warren Whiteley after some great hands from the backline, Jantjies again added the 2 points to give the Lions a commanding lead heading into the halftime break.
The 2nd half was a slow burner with the Lions content on their lead and the Chiefs determined not to be hammered by a bigger margin until the Chiefs turned the tables on the visitors in the 61st minute with winger Sean Wainui going in. After an initial break from their scrumhalf Brad Weber down the left flank, off the back of a scrum, the ball was then used wisely by the backline to set up Wainui to score in the corner. 20-5 and hope for the Chiefs.
The Chiefs had found their groove now and were putting the Lions under increasing pressure and went over again in the 63rd minute after some great carrying from the forwards. The ever present Weber put front rower Nepo Laulala into a half gap and with his size and strength. The outcome was inevitable 20-10 now and the Lions were looking shaky at best.
76 minutes in and the Chiefs would once more turn the game on its head with a 3rd try of the half. This time from a speculative kick from flyhalf Marty Mckenzie which bounced awkwardly for Elton Jantjies and unfortunately for him straight in to the loving arms of a Chiefs player, and with support on the inside from Tumua Manu the Chiefs dotted down easily, Mckenzie added the extra 2 points to make it a 3 point ball game with 4 minutes to play. The Lions needing to show resolved duly obliged and managed to play the remaining minutes in Chiefs territory. And with a penalty as a safety net, Elton Jantjies attempted and made a drop goal to ensure the points for the traveling Lions. The final score 23-17 to the Lions with the Chiefs left to rue a couple of kick misses and a poor showing defensively in the first half.
Sharks VS Reds
The Sharks took on a confident Reds outfit after they had beaten the Stormers in Queensland the week before but the Sharks would hope to be a much better opponent playing on home turf and the Reds record in Durban was not a good one having not won there for 15 years.
The Reds raced into an early lead with 2 converted tries from Bryce Hegarty and Chris Feauai-Sautia 14- with 20 minutes gone and the home side on the back foot. The Sharks replied with a try of their own through hooker Kerron Van Vuuren in the 24th minute, 14-7 to the Reds and that’s how things stayed until the halfway stage.
19 minutes into the second half and the Reds struck with another converted try this time from Tate McDermott with the score now at 21-7. The home-team was in trouble with 20 minutes to play. The Sharks only mustered a late come back as they scored through the big man Dan Du Preez in the 79th minute to set up hopes of a comeback draw but with the ball on the ground well after the full-time hooter had sounded, the Reds won a penalty to effectively seal the game. Full-time score in this game, 21-14 to the Reds.
Stormers VS Brumbies
The Stormers were seeking home comforts after a battering tour in which they only picked up one win. They hosted a Brumbies outfit looking to get some momentum going after drowning the Lions in Brisbane the week before.
The first half belonged to the Brumbies as they ran in two tries from Peter Samu and Rory Arnold by the 11th minutes to lead 12-3 right up until the home team were awarded a penalty try for a high tackle close to the tryline right as the Halftime hooter sounded. A penalty try and a yellow card for the Brumbies player made The Stormers fancy their chances in the 2nd half with the score at 12-10 to the away Brumbies.
The second half began well for the Stormers, making their numerical advantage count scoring a try through Wilko Louw 5 minutes into the second half to make it 17 -12, the Stormers with the lead for the first time in the encounter. It wasn’t going to end well for the home side though as Tom Banks scored in the 57th minute and with Christian Lealiifano adding the conversion it meant the Brumbies now had a two point lead heading into the last 20 minutes if the game. The Brumbies would hold out for a 19-17 win over the Stormers, the home side made to rue missed opportunities to score points.