Hurricanes beat careless Lions
Johannesburg - The Hurricanes claimed a valuable 22-8 victory over the Lions in their opening Super Rugby match at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Friday night.
A late Matt Proctor try and two penalties in the second half added to a first-half lead of four points to secure the victory for the visiting New Zealanders.
The Lions squandered a few scoring opportunities with the Johannesburg team stubbornly looking up the tryline when penalties were within reach.
The visitors were clinical in the second half keeping the host from their tryline while they added salt in the Lions' wounds a minute from time when they won a tighthead scrum that lead to Proctor's try.
The Lions went into the half-time break with a four-point deficit despite dominating proceedings in the first quarter of the match.
A few missed opportunities went a begging as Lions pivot Marnitz Boshoff struggled to find his rhythm kicking at goal.
His usual metronomic kicking boot miss-fired with his first three penalty shots and a drop goal attempt in the first 20 minutes of the encounter.
Boshoff dazzled with the boot and with his general play during last year's Super Rugby competition, but on Friday night it was absent as he clearly lacked confidence.
It was not only the kicking that let the hosts down in the first 40 minutes but a few promising attacks ended with nothing to show for the effort.
Shortly before the 20-minute mark Boshoff left the field for a concussion test with Elton Jantjies replacing him.
The Hurricanes collected the first points of the match with Beauden Barrett making no mistakes with his penalty shot in the 21st minute.
In the absence of Boshoff, Jantjies showed some great awareness putting the backline on the front foot.
The Lions made amends for their earlier mistakes when they took the ball through numerous phases before wing Ruan Combrinck went over in the right hand corner, with Jantjies missing the conversion.
Four minutes later Barrett added another penalty conversion to return the lead to the New Zealanders with one point separating the sides.
Growing in confidence, the visitors found easier access over the advantage line with the Lions looking vulnerable on defence.
The Hurricanes finally found the breakthrough in the 36th minute with nippy scrumhalf TJ Perenara receiving an inside pass from fullback Jason Woodward to score, with Barrett missing the goal kick.
Cleared for a concussion, Boshoff had the final say of the half to finally find his target on the whistle for half-time to reduce the deficit to three points.
Boshoff was again replaced later in the second half with Jantjies showing some creative touches with the ball in hand.
Tries: Ruan Combrinck
Penalty: Marnitz Boshoff
Tries: TJ Perenara, Matt Proctor
Penalties: Beauden Barrett (4)