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Sharks v Emirates Lions
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|DHL Stormers||19||–||17||Emirates Lions|
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|Emirates Lions||36||–||33||Melbourne Rebels|
|Emirates Lions||5||–||42||Cell C Sharks|
VODACOM SUPER RUGBY MATCH REPORT
Lions tame Highlanders
A late try by Emirates Lions winger Courtnall Skosan sealed the victory for the Emirates Lions as they downed the Highlanders 38-29 in their Vodacom Super Rugby match at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Skosan's try was a thing of beauty as the score was delicately poised at 31-29 in the favour of the home side, but instead of winding down the clock, the Lions launched a stunning attack that drove the stake into the heart of their opponents and eventually denied them a bonus point.
The Lions make it back-to-back wins and go back into the playoff positions with a solid performance against the Highlanders.
Drifting outside, Lionel Mapoe looked to be scragged, but shook off Matt Faddes to open the space before unleashing the pace of Aphiwe Dyantyi to blister down the far touchline before the final pass inside to Skosan killed off the Highlanders' challenge and reminded the rest of the competition that the three-time finalists are certainly far from a done deal in the competition.
The 10-try match was an entertaining affair and credit to the Lions for standing toe to toe with the Highlanders, not backing down when the pace increased and backing themselves to see out a game that could easily have gone against them.
But the Lions gave as good as they got and a power run by Smith down the sideline and some good work on his inside gave Andries Coetzee the first reply to cross the try line and put his side on the board.
Leading 14-12 at half time the home side knew they had a battle on their hands but they got an immediate boost early in the second half as they completed 16 phases of attack to win a penalty, and Smith picked up and darted head first to plant the ball on the line.
The Highlanders hit back through a try by Jordan Hyland before Aaron Smith's brilliance to dart and snatch a loose ball at the back of the ruck, then unleash Faddes down field to score a try that gave the Highlanders the lead once again.
A penalty by Jantjies got the Lions back into the lead before the Lions scored a scorcher of a try, with the ball travelling between Jantjies, Mapoe, Dyantyi and Shaun Reynolds within a five metre space to open up so the replacement flyhalf could run in to score.
But then came the Skosan try, which underlined the Lions attacking class, moving them into sixth spot on the log and reminding the rest just how much of an attacking threat they can be.
Emirates Lions – tries: Andries Coetzee, Kwagga Smith (2), Shaun Reynolds, Courtnall Skosan. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (5). Penalty: Jantjies.
Emirates Lions vs Cell C Sharks
Kwagga Smith will lead the Emirates Lions at Jonsson Kings Park against the Cell C Sharks on Saturday as Malcolm Marx sits this round out to give Jan-Henning Campher a starting berth. Campher gets his first start for the Lions since joining at the beginning of the year. Ross Cronje will undergo a small procedural operation which will keep him out of action for a week.
The Lions Rugby Company is proud to announce that prop Dylan Smith and loose-forward Vincent Tshituka have both put pen to paper to continue their journey with the Lions until 2021. Both are local players with Smith having matriculated at King Edward VII School in Johannesburg and Tshituka a former learner of Northcliff High. Smith represented the Lions at Craven Week in 2011 and 2012 and a year later represented the union at Under 19 level. The flanker Tshituka only started playing rugby in grade eight at wing. He moved to flank in grade 10 and went on to represent the Lions Academy side in 2016.
Emirates Lions vs Cell C Sharks (17:15): Andries Coetzee; Courtnall Skosan, Lionel Mapoe, Harold Vorster, Aphiwe Dyantyi; Elton Jantjies, Nic Groom; Kwagga Smith©, Cyle Brink, Marnus Schoeman, Marvin Orie, Stephan Lewies, Johannes Jonker, Jan-Henning Campher, Dylan Smith. Reserves: Pieter Jansen, Sti Sithole, Carlu Sadie, Reinhard Nothnagel, Vincent Tshituka, Hacjivah Dayimani, Shaun Reynolds, Tyrone Green.
Supersport Rugby Challenge
Tiaan van der Merwe will start in his first Supersport Rugby Challenge game this weekend when the Xerox Golden Lions XV face the Vodacom Blue Bulls at the Bosman Stadium in Brakpan on Sunday.
This match kicks off at 12:30.
Xerox Golden Lions XV vs Vodacom Blue Bulls (12:30): Ruan Combrinck; Prince Nkabinde, Wandisile Simelane, Franco Naude, Jan-Louis la Grange; Sylvian Mahuza, Dillon Smit; Ruan Vermaak, Darrien-Lane Landsberg, James Venter ©, Wilhelm van der Sluys, Ruben Schoeman, Frans van Wyk, Tiaan van der Merwe, Nathan McBeth. Reserves: Morne Brandon, Jacobie Adriaanse, Len Massyn, Oupa Mthiyane, Shaun Williams, Austin Davids, Kennedy Mpeku.
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