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The Lions suffered their third loss of the season when they came up short 50-17 against the Hurricanes at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday.
Despite a late spirited fightback from the hosts, the flamboyant attacking flair of the visitors was too much for the side from Johannesburg.
The ‘Canes outscored the home side by seven tries to three with the accurate boot of Beauden Barrett, including six conversions and a penalty, adding to the woes of a shocking defensive effort from the Lions.
Five tries in the first half for the Hurricanes courtesy of Julian Savea, Matt Proctor, a brace from Cory Jane and one from Reg Goodes helped the visitors to a comfortable win.
A solo try from Akker van der Merwe was the only try for the home side in the first half as the players headed into the locker rooms with the scoreboard on 36-5 to the visitors.
Some slick handling and interpassing between the New Zealanders from broken play allowed them to get the first try, in sublime fashion they kept the ball alive via captain Dane Coles and Ardie Savea allowing wing Savea to dot down.
The visitors scored their second in quick succession when Proctor read the Lions attack brilliantly, gifting him the opportunity to intercept a Warren Whiteley pass that was intended for Elton Jantjies. Barrett converted his second of the match making the score 14-0.
The ‘Canes effected turnovers aplenty and in critical parts of the field as well and this was compounded by the poor defence of the home side, which saw Jane add their third try as the match approached the 20 minute mark, Barrett added the extras and the visitors had a healthy 21-0 lead.
Lions hooker Van der Merwe collected the ball at the back of a rampant maul as the Lions powered their way over the line for their first try of the match and the only points for the Lions in the first half.
Just as the Johannesburg outfit were looking to get back into the match the visitors’ sterling defence paid off once again as an intercept handed Jane his second of the match, Barrett adding an easy conversion to make the score 31-5.
The scoring wasn’t over for the Hurricanes as South African-born prop Goodes added the visitors’ fifth try right before half-time, Barrett missing the conversion from a difficult angle.
The Lions added their second try after an excellent display of skill from wing Ruan Combrinck when he flicked a Faf de Klerk chip-kick back in field that was gathered by Lionel Mapoe and the outside centre dotted down. Jantjies converted and reduced the lead to 36-12.
The defence of the ‘Canes allowed for yet another crucial turnover on their try line, just as the Lions attack showed glimpses of promise the visitors muscle at the breakdown unmatched. The home side did however manage to break the Hurricanes’ strong defensive line which allowed Jaco Kriel to crash over in the corner, the subsequent conversion was however missed.
It took the Wellington side 26 minutes in the second half to add their first points, some brilliant side-stepping skills from Coles as he evaded the Lions’ defence before offloading to Vince Aso and Barrett added the extras taking the score to 43-17.
Moments later Julian Savea added his second score, taking the game well out of the home side’s reach, as the lead was stretched to the game ending score of 50-17.
Tries: van der Merwe, Mapoe, Kriel
Tries: J Savea 2, Proctor, Jane 2, Goodes, Aso
Cons: Barrett 6
Lions: 15 Jaco van der Walt, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (c), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Pieter Scholtz, 2 Armand van der Merwe, 1 Dylan Smith
Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Jacques van Rooyen, 19 Ruan Ackermann, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 JW Bell, 23 Rohan Janse van Rensburg
Hurricanes: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Vince Aso, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Michael Fatialofa, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles (c), 1 Reg Goodes
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu’u, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Loni Uhila, 19 Blade Thomson, 20 Callum Gibbins, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 James Marshall, 23 Willis Halaholo
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant Referees: Jaco Peyper, Ben Crouse
TMO: Johan Greef