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    Lions down Stormers to make massive statement

    2017-04-15 18:58

    Lloyd Burnard - Sport24

    Cape Town - The Lions re-affirmed their status as the top Super Rugby side in the country with a 29-16 bonus-point win over the Stormers in Cape Town on Saturday. 

    It was considered the game of the weekend as South Africa's heavyweights squared off in front of a packed Newlands, but in the end the Lions scored four tries to one in a win that suggests they are still the side to beat within these borders.

    It is the first time this season that the Stormers have lost. 

    The Lions were a try up after just a couple of minutes when hooker Malcom Marx finished off from a dominant rolling maul and that immediately got the hosts going as some big hits from both sides followed. 

    Lions scrumhalf Ross Cronje then gave possession away with a box-kick and the Stormers hit back through a moment of magic from left wing Dillyn Leyds. 

    The 24-year-old, so impressive this season, made a break down the left touchline before chipping over the top, regathering and scoring in the corner. 

    Robert du Preez's conversion was good and the Stormers were 7-5 up after 11 minutes. 

    But that lead did not last long and the Lions had their second when Harold Vorster bashed through a weak Stormers defence to score. Jantjies added the extras, and the visitors were 12-7 up. 

    The Stormers hit back through a close-range Du Preez penalty just before the Lions were reduced to 14 men - Jaco Kriel sin-binned for a late tackle on the Stormers flyhalf. 

    SP Marais added another three points from the resulting penalty and the Stormers were 13-12 up, but the Lions had more points in them before half time. 

    They took the lead back with a Jantjies penalty before a Kriel try put them even further ahead.

    It looked initially like the Springbok loose forward had been held up, but TMO footage revealed that he had grounded the ball and the Lions, after another Jantjies conversion, had a 22-13 at half time. 

    Nizaam Carr was lucky to escape a yellow card for a high and armless tackle of his own on Lions fullback Andries Coetzee just before the break. 

    The second half started with the Stormers well on the front foot, almost camped on the Lions line for the opening 10 minutes. 

    But despite phase after phase and penalty after penalty, Robbie Fleck's men could not break down the Lions defence. 

    It all spilled over after a Siya Kolisi knock-on on 53 minutes and both sides had a go at each other, most noticeably Eben Etzebeth and Ruan Ackermann who had clearly ruffled each other's feathers. 

    That opening period of the second half was a big moment in the game - the Stormers so dominant but with no points to show for their efforts. 

    The hosts would eventually close the gap in the 70th minute through another Marais penalty for the first points of the second half.

    At 22-16, it looked like it was going to be a tense final 10 minutes, but when substitute Sylvian Mahuza raced down the left touchline to score in the corner, the match was all but over as a contest.  

    Scorers:

    Stormers 16 (13)

    Try: Dillyn Leyds

    Conversion: Robert du Preez

    Penalties: Du Preez, SP Marais (2)

    Lions 29 (22)

    Tries: Malcolm Marx, Harold Vorster, Jaco Kriel, Sylvian Mahuza

    Conversions: Elton Jantjies (3)

    Penalty: Jantjies

    Teams:

    Stormers

    15 SP Marais, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Siya Kolisi (captain), 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg

    Substitutes: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Jan de Klerk, 20 Johan du Toit (Vodacom Super Rugby debut), 21 Godlen Masimla, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Dan Kriel

    Lions

    15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Courtnal Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Ruan Ackermann, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen

    Substitutes: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Kwagga Smith, 21 Faf de Klerk, 22 Harold Vorster, 23 Sylvian Mahuza

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