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Commentary by Sport24's Herman Mostert
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Lions prop Schalk van der Merwe on the charge (Getty Images)
Metres run: Highlanders 257-520 Lions
Carries: Highlanders 66-146 Lions
Defenders beaten: Highlanders 14-16 Lions
Clean breaks: Highlanders 6-6 Lions
Tackles made: Highlanders 140-52 Lions
Missed tackles: Highlanders 16-14 Lions
Turnovers won: Highlanders 11-4 Lions
Kicks in play: Highlanders 29-26 Lions
Rucks won: Highlanders 40-104 Lions
Rucks lost: Highlanders 3-5 Lions
Mauls won: Highlanders 1-12 Lions
Lineouts won: Highlanders 10-20 Lions
Lineouts lost: Highlanders 2-0 Lions
Scrums won: Highlanders 7-8 Lions
Scrums lost: Highlanders 1-0 Lions
Penalties conceded: Highlanders 13-8 Lions
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It's a highly controversial end to the game though. The Highlanders charged up too quickly which halted Jantjies before he was about to kick. The referee (Angus Gardner) could have given him the option to take the kick again, but decided not to and blew the final whistle. Heartbreaking for the Lions, who were the better side on the night!
FULL-TIME: Highlanders 23-22 Lions
The Lions go away with two bonus points - one for losing by less than seven, and one for scoring four tries. The hosts get four for the win.
80' - Jantjies hits the posts and it bounces back. Agony for the Lions!
The kick may have hit the posts but it also didn't have the "legs" to go all the way...
79' - Elton Jantjies has a kick from the corner to win the game for the Lions!
79' - TRY! After relentless pressure from the Lions, Courtnall Skosan scores in the corner for the Lions.
77' - TMO Vinny Munro says he cannot say for certain if a try was scored. It was in all likelihood a try, but you just couldn't say for sure. So perhaps the right call was made.
77' - The commentators think it's a try, but you can't say for sure...
77' - TMO CALL
The TMO is called into action with the Lions claiming to have scored a try at the base of the posts...
Warwick Tecklenburg is the man.
76' - The Lions are mere inches away. They win another penalty, with Cronjé taking a quick tap...
75' - Another attacking chance for the Lions. Lineout five metres out.
Elton Jantjies has now also replaced Boshoff at flyhalf.
75' - Ross Cronjé is on at scrumhalf for Faf de Klerk.
75' - TWEET
Lions have arguably 2 of the most exciting young hooking prospects in SA. Malcolm Marx and PUKKE's Armand Van Der Merwe ... - KZN Rugby News
73' - The Lions are back on the attack, another lineout drive brings them into the Highlanders 22m area. However, a knock-on five metres out brings relief for the hosts.
72' - Boshoff misses the conversion.
Highlanders 23-17 Lions
70' - TRY! Replacement hooker Armand van der Merwe scores in the corner!
Skipper Whiteley decided to break on the blindside after the Lions set up an attacking lineout drive, before passing to his hooker who barged over.
69' - It's all Lions now! They again attack from their own 22, all the way to the other end of the park...
Replacement back JW Jonker has made a big impact off the bench!
67' - Boshoff misses the tough conversion.
Highlanders 23-12 Lions
66' - TRY! Lionel Mapoe scores in the corner for the Lions.
It was literally a move which started from their own line. The Highlanders were hot on attack when Parker attempted a cross-kick, which was beautifully taken by Courtnall Skosan, who launched a counter-attack, and after several moves, the Lions scored in the corner!
63' - 15 AGAINST 15
Chris King's time in the sin-bin is up, but he is replaced so it's an early night for him.
63' - Warwick Tecklenburg has replaced Derick Minnie at flank for the Lions.
61' - A Lions turnover sees them launch a counter-attack up-field...
Unfortunately Anthony Volmink can't hold on to a clever back-flip pass from Faf de Klerk and the move is halted...
Some great hands from the Lions backs before that though!
60' - Armand van der Merwe has replaced Schalk van der Merwe at prop for the Lions.
60' - The hosts win a penalty from the ensuing scrum and opt for an attacking lineout.
58' - Boshoff again kicks away possession. It rolls all the way to the dead-ball line and a clever Highlanders player uses his feet to make sure the rolling ball goes dead. It means a scrum on halfway to the hosts.
Boshoff has kicked away too much ball!
56' - The Lions AGAIN lose possession after attempting a driving maul from a lineout! They've been rather poor in that department today!
54' - Unfortunately for the Lions they can't convert on an attaching driving maul. The hosts win a turnover close to their own line...
54' - Luckily for the Lions their skipper is back up.
53' - YELLOW CARD
Highlanders prop Chris King is off for 10 minutes.
King looks bemused, but he's perhaps lucky not to have seen red there...
53' - Oh dear, Lions skipper Whiteley is down. Replays show he was taken out by Chris Kings off the ball. He hit Whiteley flush on the jaw with his elbow. Should be a card!
52' - Highlanders hooker Ged Robinson is replaced by Liam Coltman. The hosts are feeling the heat at scrum time!
51' - Ben Smith again proving a menace for the Lions when on the attack!
The hosts surge into the Lions 22m area, but the men from Joburg turn it over to bring relief...
47' - A promising move by the Lions inside Highlanders territory ends when Boshoff decides to kick an up-and-under. Richard Buckman takes the mark.
Silly from Boshoff there!
46' - The Lions win a scrum penalty on their own 22m line which gives Boshoff the chance to bring relief...
44' - Oh dear, Boshoff puts his team under pressure when he kicks it out on the full just outside his own 22m line...
43' - Boshoff CONVERTS.
Highlanders 23-7 Lions
42' - TRY! Faf de Klerk scores next to the uprights.
He took a quick tap after the Lions won another penalty. A strong run by Watermeyer put the Lions on the verge, before De Klerk pounced to score.
41' - A good start by the Lions, who move up to the Highlanders 22m area. They win a penalty and again opt for the lineout...
If they want any chance in this game, they must score right now!
40' - The Highlanders have made a front row replacement. Kane Hames on for Ma'afu Fia.
40'- Welcome back for the second period. Boshoff kicks off for the Lions...
10:34 - PICTURE
Aaron Smith tackled by Faf de Klerk (Getty Images)
FIRST HALF STATS
Metres run: Highlanders 195-167 Lions
Carries: Highlanders 45-52 Lions
Defenders beaten: Highlanders 11-4 Lions
Clean breaks: Highlanders 6-1 Lions
Tackles made: Highlanders 57-36 Lions
Missed tackles: Highlanders 4-11 Lions
Turnovers won: Highlanders 5-1 Lions
Kicks in play: Highlanders 15-13 Lions
Rucks won: Highlanders 29-39 Lions
Rucks lost: Highlanders 1-3 Lions
Mauls won: Highlanders 1-5 Lions
Lineouts won: Highlanders 5-11 Lions
Lineouts lost: Highlanders 1-0 Lions
Scrums won: Highlanders 1-4 Lions
Scrums lost: Highlanders 1-0 Lions
Penalties conceded: Highlanders 5-5 Lions
HALF-TIME: Highlanders 23-0 Lions
40' - Parker hits the uprights from the corner, but it stays out...
39' - TRY! From the ensuing kick-off, the hosts launch an attack which ends with replacement Gareth Evans scoring in the corner. It was set up by another great attack from Ben Smith...
The Lions are gonners!
38' - Parker misses the conversion from the touchline.
Highlanders 18-0 Lions.
37' - TRY AWARDED to Buckman. The TMO correctly sees nothing wrong with that. Lionel Mapoe was the man out-sprinted there...
37' - No they can't. The Highlanders win it back and launch a counter attack. Wing Buckman again sprints down the touchline before kicking up-field, out-sprinting the Lions to dot down. The TMO must check though...
36' - Another attacking chance for the Lions close to the Highlanders 22m area. Can they convert?
34' - TWEET
Lions inside centre having a nightmare.... as a coach you need to make that call, "he's having an off day - sub him"?? #changetheflow - Alan Zondagh
31' - The Highlanders pounce on a dropped Lions ball on halfway and launch a counter attack.
Wing Buckman chips over the top but luckily for the Lions, Boshoff comes to the rescue to dot it down dead...
31' - TWEET
Bok call-ups from this Lions squad? I can think of only Whiteley and perhaps Redelinghuys - JW Coetzee
30' - After half an hour's play, the Lions have had 56% possession...
Also 63% territory for the visitors.
30' - The Lions have plenty of possession but appear to be too lateral on attack. Some good defence by the 'Landers though...
27' - Faf de Klerk pounces on an overthrown Highlanders lineout ball. He chips over the defence to bring play into the Highlanders 22m area...
25' - DROP KICK!
Not from Boshoff, but Highlanders pivot Parker from just outside the Lions 22m area...
Highlanders 13-0 Lions
24' - From the ensuing kick-off, Courtnall Skosan is penalised - and warned - for taking out a Highlanders players in the air.
Silly penalties creeping into the Lions game now...
23' - PENALTY converted by Hayden Parker from 48m out.
Highlanders 10-0 Lions.
Scrum penalty to the Highlanders just inside the Lions half.
21' - Another Highlanders player off injured. John Hardie off, Gareth Evans on.
18' - Another outstanding run from Ben Smith puts the Highlanders inside Lions territory. My word, he is good. All Blacks coaches take note!
17' - TWEET
Since when do you stop a game for an injured ankle? - JW Coetzee
16' - Wheeler is back on his feet, but doesn't look like he'll play on.
He is helped off, with Tom Franklin coming on.
16' - Play is halted with Highlanders lock Joe Wheeler down. Looks like a serious leg injury. The Lions will feel aggrieved though, as they were launching a promising move inside the Highlanders half...
15' - At the ensuing scrum, the Lions are penalised for not pushing straight. The hosts can now get out of the danger zone...
13' - After a promising lineout maul from the Lions inside the Highlanders 22m area, the ball is turned over... change gone begging!
12' - Lions win a scrum penalty just inside the Highlanders half. They opt not to kick for posts. Maybe not a bad decision, but lets hope Boshoff doesn't try and drop it again!
10 - PICTURE
Different view tonight - Lima Sopoaga
9' - A sniping break from All Black scrumhalf Aaron Smith puts the Highlanders inside the Lions 22m area, but he is then penalised for holding on too long on the ground...
His opposite number, Faf de Klerk, did well to catch him and win the penalty!
7' - Highlanders fullback Ben Smith looking dangerous early on here. Very promising player!
5' - Boshoff attempts a drop kick but it is away to the left. Wasted opportunity in my book there. Why try set up the attacking move and then just kick it away?
4' - Attacking lineout for the Lions on the Highlanders 22m area...
3' - Hayden Parker CONVERTS from the touchline.
Highlanders 7-0 Lions
3' - TRY AWARDED! Replays showed a good grounding and that the player's feet were not over the touchline. The try was preceded by some silky handling skills out wide by the hosts.
2' - TRY OR NO TRY? Highlanders right wing Richard Buckman scores in the corner. The referee wants to check with the TMO though...
1' - LIONS HEAD TO HEAD V HIGHLANDERS
Head to head (since 2006): Lions won 3, lost 3; 127 points for, 134 against; 17 tries scored, 12 conceded.
Average score: 21-22!
0' - Hayden Parker gets the game underway...
9:33 - Today's referee is Angus Gardner from Australia.
9:32 - Captain courageous Warren Whiteley leads out the Lions. Massive task on hand for the men from Johannesburg...
9:31 - TWEET
Warren Whiteley, who is 1 of only 8 players to make 100+ tackles this year, will have to lead the Lions’ defensive charge #braceyourself - Bok Rugby
SPORT24 'EXPERT' PICKS
Sport24's self-proclaimed expert - Editor Garrin Lambley - gives you his thoughts on today's match.
Click HERE to listen to Garrin's thoughts...
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Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Garratt Williamson (New Zealand), Kane McBride (New Zealand)
TMO: Vinny Munro (New Zealand)
2011: Lions won 26-22, Dunedin
2010: Highlanders won 39-29, Dunedin
2009: Lions won 27-22, Johannesburg
2008: Highlanders won 29-20, Dunedin
2007: Lions won 11-6, Johannesburg
2006: Highlanders won 16-14, Invercargill
15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Richard Buckman, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Jason Emery, 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu (co-captain), 7 John Hardie, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Josh Bekhuis, 4 Joe Wheeler, 3 Ma'afu Fia, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Chris King
Substitutes: 16 Liam Coltman, 17 Matias Diaz, 18 Kane Hames, 19 Tom Franklin, 20 TJ Ioane, 21 Fumiaki Tanaka, 22 Trent Renata, 23 Gareth Evans
15 Chrysander Botha, 14 Courtnall Skosan, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Martin Muller, 4 Luvuyiso Lusaseni, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Schalk van der Merwe
Substitutes: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Jacques van Rooyen, 19 Rudi Matthee, 20 Warwick Tecklenburg, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 JW Jonker
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