Cape Town -The Highlanders got their Super Rugby campaign back on track
when they claimed a hard-fought 39-27 victory over the Lions in Dunedin on
As expected, this was an entertaining affair with both sides
employing expansive game-plans but the Highlanders got the rub of the green in
the end and they eventually outscored the men from Johannesburg five tries to
The result means the Highlanders consolidates third position
on the New Zealand Conference standings while the Lions are still in first place
in the South African Conference standings.
The home side were fastest out of the blocks and opened the
scoring after six minutes when he gathered a loose pass from Tom Franklin in
the Lions’ 22 before crossing for a deserved try which he also converted.
The Lions narrowed the gap courtesy of a penalty from Elton
Jantjies but the Highlanders continued to dominate and extended their lead in
the 15th minute when Liam Coltman barged over from close quarters, after Luke
Whitelock was stopped close to the try-line in the build-up.
Whitelock eventually got his name onto the scoresheet in the
34th minute after grabbing a brilliant offload from Elliot Dixon and although Lima Sopoaga’s conversion attempt was wide of the mark, the Highlanders held a
comfortable 19-3 lead.
The Lions finished the half stronger though and were
rewarded when Harold Vorster ran onto an inside pass from Aphiwe Dyantyi before
dotting down in the 39th minute.
Jantjies added the extras and on the stroke of half-time the
visitors launched a lineout drive deep inside the Highlanders’ 22 before Robbie
Coetzee dotted down off the back of the maul.
This meant the match was evenly poised as the teams changed
sides at half-time with the Highlanders leading 19-15.
The home side made a superb start to the second half when
they launched a counter-attack from inside their half, shortly after the
restart, and Ben Smith did well to draw in the last defender before offloading
to Waisake Naholo, who crossed for an easy-five-pointer.
The Lions fought back bravely and narrowed the gap in the
49th minute when Coetzee went over for his second try after the visitors got
another lineout drive going close to the Highlanders’ try-line.
The Highlanders regained the initiative in the 64th minute
when Rob Thompson gathered his own grubber kick in the Lions’ 22 before getting
a pass out to Teihorangi Walden, who crossed for the hosts’ fifth try.
Sopoaga converted which meant the Highlanders held a 33-20
lead but the Lions did not surrender and kept their hopes alive when Marnus
Schoeman ran onto a pass from Dillon Smit before burrowing his way over the
The Highlanders finished stronger, however, and two
penalties from Sopoaga in the game’s closing stages sealed their eleventh
consecutive home victory.
Tries: Sopoaga, Coltman, Whitelock, Naholo, Walden
Conversions: Sopoaga 4
Penalties: Sopoaga 2
Tries: Vorster, R Coetzee 2, Schoeman
Conversions: Jantjies 2
15 Ben Smith (captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Tei Walden, 11 Tevita Nabura, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Kayne Hammington, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 James Lentjes, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown
Substitutes: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Kalolo Tuiloma, 19 Josh Dickson, 20 Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, 21 Josh Renton, 22 Josh Ioane, 23 Sio Tomkinson
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Kwagga Smith, 7 Franco Mostert (captain), 6 Cyle Brink, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Johannes Jonker, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Dylan Smith
Substitutes: 16 Jacques van Rooyen, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Dillon Smit, 22 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 23 Sylvian Mahuza