A fantastic all-round performance from the Lions saw them power to an impressive 37-19 (halftime 13-12) win over the Stormers in their United Rugby Challenge clash at the Cape Town Stadium on Saturday evening.
The match got off to a cracking start with some end to end play as both the Lions and Stormers got into each other’s 22m but were unable to find the finish.
The Lions then struck first in the 10th minute as they attacked from a lineout, flyhalf Fred Zeilinga popped a pass to flank Vincent Tshituka who broke into the 22m and offloaded to eighthman Francke Horne to score under the poles, with Zeilinga converting for a 7-0 lead.
A scrum penalty to the Lions in the 15th minute then saw Zeilinga convert from range to put them 10 points up, before two quick yellow cards, one to Stormers Captain Salmaan Moerat for tacking a player in the air and one to Lions lock Willem Alberts for a no arms tackle saw it go down to 14 v 14.
Manie Libbok then missed a penalty from in front of the posts, before Lions wing Edwill van der Merwe received a yellow in the 22nd minute for mistakenly pulling opposite wing Seabelo Senatla’s hair trying to tackle him, with it then 14 v 13.
The Stormers then made their two man advantage count as Moerat returned to the field, scoring twice to take the lead.
Both tries came from counter attacks from Lions clearances that didn’t find touch, as prop Neethling Fouche produced offloads for scrumhalf Stefan Ungerer and Senatla to dot down, with Libbok only converting one to lead 12-10 after 31 minutes.
A Zeilinga penalty a minute before halftime then saw the Lions take a slender one point lead into the break.
The Lions then produced a scintillating second half performance to comprehensively outplay the Stormers and power away with three tries.
The first came in the 45th minute as the Lions attacked from a scrum just in the Stormers half, with centre Wandisile Simelane breaking into the 22m and passing to scrumhalf Andre Warner to dot down next to the posts for a converted score.
Lions hooker Jaco Visagie was then yellow carded in the 48th minute for not rolling away at a ruck after the Stormers broke into the Lions 22m, however that didn’t impact the visitors as they went further ahead with a man down.
From a lineout near the halfway the ball was popped to captain Burger Odendaal who burst through the Stormers defence into the 22m and offloaded to the flying Tshituka following up to score with Zeilinga adding the extras.
A 69th minute penalty to Zeilinga then moved the Lions 30-12 up, before the Stormers finally scored a consolation try with three minutes left as replacement hooker Andre Hugo-Venter crashed over from close range, with replacement flyhalf Tim Swiel adding the conversion.
The Lions then had the final say as straight from the kickoff the Stormers knocked on, allowing the Lions to pick up the ball and pass to Horne to run in his second, with Zeilinga nailing the touchline conversion to keep his perfect kicking performance intact.
Stormers – Tries: Stefan Ungerer, Seabelo Senatla, Andre Hugo-Venter; Conversions: Manie Libbok, Tim Swiel
Lions – Tries: Francke Horne (2), Andre Warner, Vincent Tshituka; Conversions: Fred Zeilinga (4); Penalties: Fred Zeilinga (3)