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Lions 9 vs Crusaders 3

Lions beat Crusaders in low scoring match

Crusaders last lost to the Cats in 2001

The Lions did what the Cats struggled to do, beat the Crusaders at Ellis Park. Both teams defended well, and sometimes also failed to finish promising attacks, and in the end no tries were scored, just three penalties from the Lions to the one from the Crusaders.

The Crusaders started very well, receiving the kickoff from Strydom, and then keeping the ball in hand, putting it through phases, and slowly advancing to the try-line of the Lions, and eventually the Lions conceded a penalty at a ruck under the pressure. Fortunately Stephen Brett hit the upright with his attempt at goal, a lucky let off for the Lions.

Louis Strydom also looked a bit unsettled early in the match, spilling two balls in the first five minutes.

The Lions first line break came after 11 minutes, with Vermaak running at outside centre and being put in a gap, but unfortunately his pass to his left went forward, a great scoring chance spoilt.

Both teams kept on keeping the ball in hand, trying to break the defense with running rugby rather than kicking for position, but both were turning over too much ball with knocks at the contact points and forward passes.

In the 16th minute the Crusaders looked like they must score, when they ran a ball from deep inside their half, hitting right where the Lions defense was thin, and making ground all the way deep inside the Lions 22 meter area, where a player was clean through, and only a desperate three man tackle stopped him meters away from the line.

In the 25th minute the Crusaders were penalised for collapsing a scrum just outside their 22, and Strydom made no mistake with the kick to put the Lions in a 3-0 lead.

Three minutes later the Lions committed a similar offence, about 10 meters outside their 22, and this time Brett didn't miss, and the scores were level at 3-3.

The game was deadlocked at this stage, neither team giving an inch. Strydom missed a kickable penalty with just one minute to go before the break, and that was it, 3-3 at halftime.

Wylie Human replaced Jannie Boshoff on the right wing during the break.

The Lions put themselves under pressure early in the 2nd half, Cobus Grobler joining a ruck from the side in the first minute, and conceding a penalty. The Crusaders spurned the chance of three points and went for the line-out, which they won and drove up to the Lions line, and came very close to scoring, with the forwards keeping the drive going, but eventually the Lions managed to tackle one of the props backwards, and when the ball came out on the Crusaders side, Stephen Brett at flyhalf knocked it on, getting the Lions out of jail.

8 minutes into the second half the Crusaders again looked like scoring, hitting right with their backline deep inside the Lions 22, the pass then came to the inside and created a huge gap for Tipoki, but the move broke down with a forward pass.

13 minutes into the second half Reynecke and Smit replaced Wepener and Mujati.

16 minutes into the second half the Lions were awarded another ruck penalty, just outside the Crusaders 22, 15 meters infield on the left. Strydom kicked it over to put the Lions in a 6-3 lead.

Three minutes later Franco van der Merwe replaced Grobler, and another three minutes later Januarie came on for Vermaak, and Rose for Ludik, who was injured.

25 minutes into the second half the Lions were awarded another penalty, just outside the Crusaders 22. Strydom kicked it to make the lead 9-3.

The Crusaders then started to threaten, and were awarded another penalty inside the Lions 22 when the Lions collapsed a maul. The Crusaders again decided to go for touch, and the Lions managed to counter the drive and stop the attack.

Then the best move for the Lions of the night, from just outside their 22, Louis Strydom got the ball from Januarie, he chipped it over the advancing defense and gathered, and passed to Jaque Fourie on his outside, who found Pretorius to his right, at this time deep inside the Crusaders 22. He passed to Wylie Human on his right, but he was too close to the touchline, and went into touch in the process of diving for the try in the corner.

The Crusaders had a breakout from their 22 down the right hand touchline, and looked like scoring until Jaque Fourie made a telling tackle on Ellis on the Lions 22 and took him into touch.

With just three minutes to go, it started to look like the Lions might pull off a surprise victory. The Crusaders kicked another penalty into touch on the Lions 22, but the Lions again defended the maul well, forcing a kick from the Crusaders, but Rose was waiting for it, and caught it and kicked a line kick to take the pressure of. The Lions won the resulting line-out, and kicked the ball out to get the final whistle and win the game, 9-3.

They then did a victory lap to great cheers from the 17153 strong crowd.

The scorers:

For the Lions:

For the Crusaders:
Pens: Brett     

Yellow card: none
Red card: none 

Lions: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Jannie Boshoff, 13 Jaco Pretorius, 12 Jaque Fourie, 11 Jaco van Schalkwyk, 10 Louis Strydom, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Willem Alberts, 7 Ernst Joubert(c), 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 Anton van Zyl, 4 Cobus Grobler, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Heinke van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Bertus Smit, 18 Franco van der Merwe, 19 Jacques Cronje, 20 Enrico Januarie, 21 Wylie Human, 22 Earl Rose.

Crusaders: 15. Scott Hamilton, 14. Rico Gear, 13. Casey Laulala, 12. Rua Tipoki, 11. Caleb Ralph, 10. Stephen Brett, 9. Andrew Ellis, 8. Mose Tuiali`i, 7. Johnny Leo`o, 6. Kieran Read, 5. Kevin O'Neill, 4. Ross Filipo, 3. Campbell Johnstone, 2. Corey Flynn(c), 1. Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16. Ti`i Paulo, 17. Wyatt Crockett, 18. Michael Paterson, 19. Jake Paringatai , 20. Kevin Senio, 21. Tusi Pisi, 22. Brent Ward.  

Referee: Brett Bowden (Aus) 
Touch judges: Paul Marks (Aus) and Mark Lawrence (SA)
TV Match Official:
Johann Meuwesen (SA)

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