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Lions 16 (16) vs Western Force 18 (15)

Lions lose a close one at home

Force keep Lions pinned in their own half in second half to take the match

The Force beat the Lions 18-16 at Ellis Park on Friday night after the Lions lead 16-15 at the break. The Force scored two tries to the one from the Lions, and also kept the Lions pinned down in their own half for most of the second half to close down the game.

Both teams were hit by late withdrawals, with Jaco Pretorius out for the Lions with his hamstring injury and being replaced by Jaco van Schalkwyk, and on the Force side Scott Staniforth also out injured and being replaced by Scott Daruda in the starting XV.

Giteau started the match for the Force, aiming the kick to land just outside the Lions 22, where it was taken well by the forwards and secured by the Lions, also winning a penalty and getting the line-out on the Force 22.

The Lions won their line-out and then set up a few rucks, and then hit left with the backline, where the ball quickly got to Benjamin on the left wing, but he was tackled into touch about 10 meters from the try-line.

The Lions first chance came in the 8th minute from another backline move where the ball got to Benjamin on the left wing, he ran out of space though and came back inside, where a ruck formed and the Force conceded another penalty. It was just outside the Force 22, and about 8 meters infield, and Louis Strydom managed to convert the penalty to give the Lions a 3-0 lead.

The Force hit back about six minutes later, there were few defenders for the Lions on their left and that's where the Force attacked, the ball went right and Shepherd received the ball on the right touchline with no one in front of him, he ran the 50 meters to the try-line and scored in the right corner untouched. Giteau converted to make it 7-3 for the Force.

Four minutes later in the 18th minute, the Lions were on the attack again, and the Force conceded a penalty on their 22 in the middle of the field. Louis Strydom kicked the easy penalty to make it 7-6 for the Force.

From the restart the Lions conceded a silly penalty on their 22, and this time Giteau kicked the fairly difficult penalty to put the Force in a 10-6 lead. 

In the 28th minute the Force went further in the lead, this after receiving a few quick free kicks deep inside Lions territory. Eventually the ball went left and Gitaeu got through a gap, and when he got tackled close to the line the ball came quick to the left again, where Tamaiti Horua, the number eight, found himself on the left wing, and he had no trouble beating the tackle of Ludik to score in the corner, although the TMO had to confirm that the try was good. Giteau hit the right upright with his conversion attempt.

From the restart the Lions progressed into Force territory again, where inside their 22 and in front of the poles the Force conceded another offside penalty, converted by Strydom, to make the score 15-9 for the Force.

The Lions had some great fortune in the 38th minute, when the Force tried to kick from their 22, and the kick was charged down by Doppies la Grange, the Lions got to the ball first and it was passed to Jaco van Schalkwyk, who stepped inside the tackler and went over for the try behind the poles, Strydom added the conversion and the Lions now in the lead 16-15.

Doppies injured his hamstring in the process and was replaced by Jannie Boshoff, but there was no further score in the first half and the score at the break 16-15 for the Lions.

The Lions got an early chance in the 2nd half, when Jano Vermaak kicked from the base of a ruck on the halfway line, the ball landed in space just inside the Force 22, where Shepherd managed to knock the ball backwards towards his tryline and he carried it into his goal area, but the Force scrambled well and managed to kick the ball into safety.

Franco van der Merwe replaced Willem Stoltz at this stage.

Then the Lions were robbed, from a line-out on the halfway line the ball went loose, Jano Vermaak kicked it ahead and into a Force player, who knocked it back into the hands of Vermaak, who suddenly found himself in space and he ran through all the way to score under the poles, only to be called back by the ref who ruled that the ball was knocked on by the Lions, but I think the big screen replay showed it was a mistake by the referee and the crowd also showed that they didn't agree with the decision.

14 minutes into the 2nd half the Lions conceded a penalty on the halfway line at a ruck, Shepherd made no mistake with this long kick and the Force was back in the lead 18-16. Earl Rose replaced Louis Strydom and Gert-Andries van der Merwe replaced Ross Geldenhuys at this stage, but it was only for a short while and the Van der Merwe was off injured and Geldenhuys was back on.

With about 12 minutes left in the game, Willem Alberts replaced captain Ernst Joubert.

The Lions then transgressed at a ruck just outside their own 10 meter line, but Giteau pushed the kick left of the poles to the delight of the crowd.

The Force were doing most of the attacking at this stage and the Lions were running out of time to salvage the game. Ethienne Reynecke came on for Willie Wepener and Chris Jonck for Jano Vermaak. The Lions were running out of time and were being pinned down in their own territory. With about 2 minutes left in the game the Lions made it into the Force territory again for the first time in a long time, but the move broke down when the ball was intercepted by a Force player after the hooter, and that was it, 18-16 for the Force.

The scorers:

For the Lions:
Tries:
Jaco van Schalkwyk
Cons: Louis Strydom             
Pens:
Louis Strydom(3)       
Drops:          

For the Western Force:
Tries:
Cameron Shepherd, Tamaiti Horua                
Cons: Matt Giteau          
Pens: Matt Giteau, Cameron Shepherd          
Drops:     
  

Yellow card: none
Red card: none 

Teams:
 
Lions: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Dusty Noble, 13 Jaco van Schalkwyk, 12 Doppies la Grange, 11 Ryno Benjamin, 10 Louis Strydom, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Joe van Niekerk, 7 Ernst Joubert(c), 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 Willem Stoltz, 4 Gerhard Mostert, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Heinke van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Gert Andries van dewr Merwe, 18 Franco van der Merwe, 19 Willem Alberts, 20 Chris Jonck, 21 Earl Rose, 22 Jannie Boshoff.

Western Force: 15. Cameron Shepherd, 14. Nick Cummins, 13. Ryan Cross, 12. Scott Daruda, 11. Drew Mitchell, 10. Matt Giteau, 9. James Stannard, 8. Tamaiti Horua, 7. Matt Hodgson, 6. Scott Fava, 5. Nathan Sharpe(c), 4. Tom Hockings, 3. Troy Takiari, 2. Luke Holmes, 1. Gareth Hardy.
Replacements: 16. Tai McIsaac, 17. AJ Whalley, 18. Sam Wykes, 19. Richard Brown, 20. David Pocock, 21. Josh Tatupu, 22. Lachlan MacKay.  


Referee: Kelvin Deaker (NZ) 
Touch judges: Chris Pollock (NZ) and Phillip Bosch (SA)
TV Match Official:
Shaun Veldsman (SA)

 
 
 
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