Vodacom Super 14

Lions record gutsy win

2009-04-18 11:14
Hat-trick hero Henno Mentz (Gallo Images)
Brisbane - Wing Henno Mentz scored a hat-trick of tries, the third while his side were reduced to 13 men, to help the Lions to a 31-20 victory over the Reds in their Super 14 clash in Brisbane on Saturday.

Mentz scored two of his tries off turnovers as the Lions defended desperately deep inside their own half and the left wing used his searing pace to outsprint the Reds' cover.

The Lions spent eight minutes of the second half with 13 men after replacement loose forward Robert Kruger was sinbinned for a late tackle on Reds fullback Mark McLinden.

Lock Anton van Zyl joined him on the sidelines two minutes later for a professional foul while Quade Cooper was in the process of scoring a try to bring the Reds back to 24-20.

The Lions, however, controlled possession and stole several of the Reds' lineout throws to ensure the Reds' numerical advantage was not turned into points.

Lions flank Ernst Joubert scored the visitors' other try, while flyhalf Andre Pretorius converted all four and added a penalty.

"To have 13 against these guys who really can throw the ball around like it is a touch rugby game, I really must take my hat off to my boys," Joubert said in a televised interview. "It was a brilliant performance.

"We kind of fell into their trap and were playing to their game plan but in the second half we just calmed down and started to play the game a bit slower and it suited us better."

Will Genia and Scott Higginbotham scored first half tries for the Reds, while Berrick Barnes slotted a penalty and a conversion.

"We just didn't come out and play tonight," Reds captain James Horwill said. "We gave away possession and gave them two long-range tries that really hurt us. We just didn't show up."

In next weekend's action, the Lions travel to Perth to face the Force while the Reds have a date with the Blues in Auckland.


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