The Stormers used a dominant scrum to lay the platform for a 34-21 win over the Lions in the second game of the SuperFan Saturday double header at Loftus, though they had to withstand a big second-half comeback as both sides returned to action after a six-month hiatus.
The Lions almost turned the game on its head when they introduced an entire new team from the bench in the 50th minute, and the move injected immediate new energy, with replacement flyhalf Gianni Lombard making a strong statement.
The match was much tighter than the earlier contest between the Bulls and the Sharks, but it was clear from the start that the Lions scrum was in trouble, and this was where the Stormers managed to lay a platform.
The Stormers were out to make the most of their powerful pack, boasting an experienced side with the likes of Springbok captain Siya Kolisi and World Cup winning props in Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe.
But there was also a lot of expectation on the Lions with the return of Bok flank Jaco Kriel and prop Ruan Dreyer, as well as the calming influence of former Bulls captain Burger Odendaal in the midfield.
Looking to put an emphasis on the tight phases, and maybe with altitude in mind, the Stormers tried to slow the ball down, while the Lions were looking for quick recycled ball and tried to speed up the
game as much as possible.
The Stormers also showed a solid defensive effort around the fringes, but Lions captain Elton Jantjies often steered the point of attack to the wider channels where the likes of outside centre Wandisile Simelane showed great intent but did not always get the required reward.
Lions – Tries: Courtnall Skosan, Jamba Ulengo, MJ Pelser, conversion:
Elton Jantjies (1), Gianni Lombard (2).
Stormers – Tries: Dan du Plessis, Scarra Ntubeni, Siya Kolisi, Warrick
Gelant, Paul de Wet, conversions: Damian Willemse (2), Tim Swiel (1),
penalty: Willemse (1).
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