Hurricanes sink Lions at death
Johannesburg - The Hurricanes sank the Lions at the death with a penalty to take the spoils 28-30 in a nail biting Super Rugby match at Ellis Park on Friday.
The Lions were clinical -- for most of the first half -- in their plan to outwit the Hurricanes as they tried to keep the game in the opposition's half with accurate kicks into the corner.
They also used Warren Whiteley to some effect with the eighthman gaining some ground with pick and runs from the back of the scrum.
Despite doing most of the playing, the Lions were still behind on the scoreboard at the halftime break with the Canes leading 14-8.
The visitors scored the first points of the match with their flyhalf Beauden Barrett converting a penalty five minutes into the encounter.
From the restart Lions pivot Elton Jantjies kicked the ball deep into the left hand corner where a Hurricanes player knocked the ball on to give the hosts a scrum five metres from the tryline.
Whiteley picked the ball up from the first attempt and was stopped short of the line.
On the second attempt the ball went wide to Jantjies who did a run around with Doppies la Grange, then offloaded to a speeding Jaco Taute who scored in the corner.
Jantjies missed the conversion.
Six minute later Barrett took back the lead with another penalty conversion but Taute soon showed his long range kicking ability with a penalty conversion well over the 50 metres.
The Lions, who had the better of the Canes in the scrum, suffered their second setback of the evening with replacement prop CJ van der Linde joining crocked JC Janse van Rensburg, leaving Pat Cilliers as the only specialist prop. For the rest of the match the scrums were uncontested.
Four minutes before the break, the Hurricanes launched themselves into the lead with fullback Andre Taylor scoring in the right hand corner, with Barrett missing the conversion.
Jantjies, however, got his side within two points shortly after the restart but the Hurricanes were soon awarded a penalty which took their lead back to six points.
In the 55th minute Jantjies got the Ellis Park crowd off their feet with a clean break on the left hand side of the field.
He offloaded to Michael Killian who got caught in possession but the Lions still managed to go forward.
They progressed to metres from the goalline when Franco van der Merwe sold a slight dummy and got over the line for his side's second try, with Jantjies converting to give the Lions a one-point lead.
The Hurricanes, however, got a lucky break two minutes later when a Joshua Strauss pass went astray with the visitors' Conrad Smith booting the ball ahead.
Smith gave the ball an intelligent nudge to the left where hooker Dane Coles picked up metres from the tryline to score.
This gave the Canes a nine-point lead with less than a quarter left in the game.
The Lions showed great character as they got themselves back into the lead with a Jantjies penalty conversion and a Butch James converted try.
Hanging onto a mere one-point lead the Lions tried valiantly to keep the Canes out of their half but the visitors were reluctant on attack.
In their desperation the Lions conceded a penalty two minutes before the end of the match with Barrett kicking the penalty to clinch a last minute victory.
Tries: Jaco Taute, Franco van der Merwe, Butch James
Conversions: Elton Jantjies (2).
Penalties: Taute, Jantjies (2)
Tries: Andre Taylor, Dane Coles, Cory Jane.
Penalties: Beauden Barrett (5)