Lions dismantle Russian bears

2013-01-19 22:24

Johannesburg - The Golden Lions scored a half-century to dispose of Russia with a 51-13 victory in their inaugural Lions Challenge match at Ellis Park on Saturday evening.

Flyhalf Lionel Cronje got the Lions on the scoreboard with two penalty conversions early in the match.

The Russians, however, clawed their way back, as they showed some control at the contact point with their heavy forwards, making two strong attempts at the line but failing to finish off.

The Lions finally pierced Russia’s defence with winger Deon Helberg swerving his way through to score the their first five-pointer of the night in the 22nd minute, with Cronje converting.

While the wet weather seemed to dampen any hopes of a free-flowing match, play did flow as the game progressed.

It was clear from the outset that the Bears favoured a tighter match by keeping the ball among the forwards, with little confidence shown in their backline play.

As expected from the first match of the season, the Lions, with a crop of new and young players, were a bit rusty.

Russia got their first points on the board when fullback Igor Klyunchnikov succeeded with a penalty kick to take the scores to 13-3 in the 38th minute.

The Lions, however, had the last word of the first half as referee Lourens van der Merwe awarded a penalty try against the visitors for an infringement from a scrum five metres from their tryline. Cronje converted to extend their half-time lead to 20-3.

Russia got the second period off to a good start with Klyunchnikov adding another three points to their tally through a penalty conversion.

They were dealt another blow, however, when Van der Merwe showed hooker Valeriy Tsnobiladze a yellow card.

Shortly after Tsnobiladze’s departure, the referee once again awarded the Lions a penalty try for a Russian infraction at scrum time, with Cronje converting.

The visitors finally crossed the whitewash with Alexy Makovetskiy scoring after following up on a kick, due to some handling mistakes from the Lions, and Klyunchnikov converted.

But the hosts took the match away as they scored three more tries within 15 minutes to secure a 33-point lead with 10 minutes remaining.

Lock Hendrik Roodt, flanker Warwick Tecklenburg and flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff each had a turn to score a try.

On the fulltime whistle, Ruhan Nel added another five-pointer to bring up the home side's half-century.

The Lions Challenge comes in the wake of the Johannesburg franchise's relegation from this year’s Super Rugby competition.

The challenge will culminate in promotion/relegation matches against the SA team that finishes last in the country’s Super Rugby conference.

Scorers: Lions 51 (20): Tries: Deon Hellberg, Penalty try (2), Hendrik Roodt, Warwick Tecklenburg, Marnitz Boshoff, Ruhan Nel. Penalties: Lionel Cronje (2). Conversions: Cronje (4), Marnitz Boshoff.

Russia 13 (3): Try: Alexy Makovetskiy. Conversion: Igor Klyunchnikov. Penalties: Makovetskiy (2).


  • nico.pretorius.946 - 2013-01-19 22:31

    Excellent first game of the season! Still need to do some hard work, but how AWESOME were the scrums!! Next game Cheetahs on Wednesday, will be an early day in the office :) GO LIONS!!

      julius.malememba.7 - 2013-01-20 00:44

      I do believe this Russian team would have put 50 pointS on wATSON'S Queers from EP ...

  • heinrick.strauss - 2013-01-19 22:47


  • Sige Gorabeb - 2013-01-19 23:00

    were the russians frozen?

      maniem1 - 2013-01-21 08:11

      Nope they had Russians and chips on Saturday all were sold out. Nice Lions keep up the good work cant wait to have you bace in suppert rugby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • duncan.gill1 - 2013-01-19 23:14

    Even though he Russians were technically a bit short of experience the ref was a bit harsh and killed any chance they may have had to score from fixed play..this is a bit of a pity and I believe the ref could have adopted a more free flowing control of the game as opposed to the rigid,I will teach you at this level,attitude!I think that when teams such as Russia come to our shores they should,for the sake of the game,be forgiven technically minor infringements ,this will only serve to promote the game of Rugby,not strangle what could of been a far closer encounter.The Russians showed spirit and a willingness to compete but were left somewhat disappointed in the treatment they were given..the Lions will think they are better than they really were and this will not serve them well in the months ahead!

      christopher.collings.9 - 2013-01-20 00:57

      I agree with you dunkie however you only get better when u play better opposition. The deep end is where the big fish swim. Even though its Russia they are a pro side & should be treated as such. If u want to play the big boys then u have to play by the same rules as the other team. Have to add the call for more power to the TMO is going to see NZ getting caught out while 'bending' the rules. Bokke for life! Congrats Lions mo*r hulle!

  • duncan.gill1 - 2013-01-19 23:19

    Furthermore two Russian players were sent off without warnings and one red carded for a first offense when his so to say spear tackle was a result of being exhausted and in the last minute. The player was devastated when he left the field,he was one of the star performers in the back line,a yellow card was far more fit punishment for his transgression.Perhaps this is what is wrong with SA rugby..officials seem to have no clue how to officiate games like this in the true spirit of the game...most disappointing!

  • - 2013-01-19 23:35

    Mediocre rugby by mediocre teams sorry I just couldn't watch more than 5s of this bs.

      dunkie56 - 2013-01-19 23:43

      ONE TO MANY DRINKS METHINKS...!Show some spirit get with the program...your 5 mins of watching did not stop you commentating did it??? - 2013-01-19 23:49

      I did get with the spririt(s) hence the 5s and not 5min that would've been torture.

      peter.vanzyl.948 - 2013-01-20 12:21

      Watch the Kings for 5 minutes later in the season, and you will set a viewing record - if. you.are. still.watching. that is!

      mark.polley.336 - 2013-01-20 12:54

      @she no one forced you, not your team, do`nt watch

      louis.bensch.31 - 2013-01-21 08:11

      @She, wanna see below mediocre, watch the Stormers play the Queens later this year.

  • bernard.mackenzie.5 - 2013-01-20 02:02

    Quite a lot of excitement over a win over... urm... Russia. They battled to kept all their players on the field and gave away a heap of penalties. How about a bit of perspective okes. The Russians may be a pro team (some of the players, anyway), but so are Bafana Bafana.

  • - 2013-01-20 06:39

    To all the naysayers, don't make the same mistake I did. Give the Lions their chance in the sun

  • Theuns Jacobs - 2013-01-20 06:53

    and the crowd of 10 went mad!!!

      jeanpierre.heyns.1 - 2013-01-20 08:06

      It was raining you idiot. All my mates and I didn't even consider going because of the rain.

  • Theuns Jacobs - 2013-01-20 06:53

    os should i say, the 65000 empty seats!!

      matt.prinsloo.1 - 2013-01-21 10:19

      the "dress like a seat evening" was a huge success...

      Dinos.Kaparos - 2013-01-22 15:41

      Julle narre.

  • suidlander.vanwyk - 2013-01-20 09:22

    hahahaha-............ho ho ho, thats world class rugby

      mark.polley.336 - 2013-01-20 12:55


  • lesbeen - 2013-01-20 09:47

    Let's play spot the Kings-supporter.... The last ones to speak of mediocre rugby and beating poor opposition? Their only 2 games against less-than-pathetic-teams ended in heavy defeat!! Ppfffttt, but atleast they have a chance to show us how awesome they are from next month!

  • diana.gill.18 - 2013-01-20 13:08

    I am badly surprised by some commentators who think that its of a fancy manner to beat the fallen. Actually even after the hiding the Russians are not looking as fallen, everything is a part of experience and i am sure they were so much thankful to the Lions, more than likely after the game was over they have hit some pub altogether. What hurts me is the ref's attitude who tried to look like a school principal and showed the naughty boys their place. He has robbed the Bears of two might-be successful tries and was definitely over-judging to favor the Lions. The Russians were trying to find their feet on the SA rugby field which was very much clear by the end of the second half. Unfortunately for them by the time they have found a right strategy the time was nearly over and the altitude started playing bad tricks leaving them absolutely out of steam. The ref should have taken all factors into consideration and stop bossing around. To say that in a game of big boys you should be playing by their rules is all great but the same time big boys supposed to be wiser and behave like adults, not spiteful toddlers. In this context i am hurt for the Lions as well. They still to face the Samoans and French whose level of play is far better than the Russians and being overconfident because of a quick and easy victory can only work against the guys.

  • BlouMasjien BlouBloed - 2013-03-24 15:50

    karma is a biatch

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