Stormers happy with ugly win
Johannesburg - The Stormers have breathed a sigh of relief after holding off a late onslaught from the Lions on Saturday, snatching a 22-19 victory to retain their place at the summit of the SA Super Rugby conference.
Playing in wet conditions at Ellis Park, the hosts took the early lead and maintained a 19-15 advantage in the dying stages, before Siya Kolisi barged over at the back of a maul to put his side in front for the first time in the game, and Kurt Coleman slotted the conversion.
Refusing to give up, the Lions surged forward in a final attempt to bag a crucial win, camping on the Stormers try-line after the horn had blown.
Howard Mnisi lost the ball in a tackle by Damian de Allende after crossing the whitewash, however, and the visitors held on to remain unbeaten from three matches.
"Whenever you come to Ellis Park the Lions throw everything at you, so you have to come prepared and there are sore bodies the next day," said De Allende, the man of the Match.
"Credit to the Lions, and also credit to our defence. Our forward pack worked very hard today."
While he was delighted to steal four points at the death, Stormers captain Duane Vermeulen admitted they needed to sharpen up if they hoped to continue their winning run in the campaign.
"Our set phases were definitely not good and our lineouts were terrible, but we're going to work on that," Vermeulen said.
"There are still a lot of games to play in this competition and we can only get better, so we're just going to go back and work on that."
The Lions remained rooted to the bottom of the table without a win in the early stages of the season, but skipper Warren Whiteley lauded his team-mates for putting up a fight till the final whistle.
Given an opportunity to go for posts and secure a draw at the end of the game, they opted instead for a potential five-pointer, which reaped no reward.
"I think it's just the nature of the team. We're here to win and I think that's the bottom line," Whiteley said.
"It's tough to lose like this but I think through these times you've just got to stay positive.
"Perhaps discipline let us down a bit but I think there was no lack of effort tonight. The guys put 110% in and I'm really proud of them."
The Lions were set to leave for the start of their Australasian tour next week, and Whiteley insisted they remained confident about their chances of bagging points Down Under.
"It's really easy to put our heads down now, but we're going on tour and it's really important for us to keep our heads up and get a win."