A 79th-minute penalty saw the Hurricanes grab their first win of the Super Rugby season as they edged the Lions 30-28 on Friday.
A 79th-minute penalty saw the Hurricanes grab their first win of the Super Rugby season as they edged the Lions 30-28 in Johannesburg on Friday.
A topsy-turvy encounter full of positive intent and running rugby from both sides saw the lead change hands no less than eight times.
The first 40 minutes of a highly-entertaining clash ended with the Hurricanes 14-8 ahead.
The Lions overturned a nine-point deficit on the hour mark to lead by a single point with ten minutes left on the clock, but the dying moments saw Butch James turn from hero to villain as he gave away a penalty just minutes after scoring what looked to have been the winning try.
The Lions have become masters of providing the Ellis Park crowd with tight finishes and the home side will rue a number of missed chances that could well have handed them a second win in as many weeks.
The hosts had hoped to ply the pressure at scrum time but uncontested scrums from late in the first half due to injuries to the Lions props (JC Janse van Rensburg and CJ van der Linde) allowed the Hurricanes the ideal platform to attack.
Beauden Barrett opened the scoring for the Hurricanes from the kicking tee but the Lions were first to cross the whitewash when Jaco Taute found his way into the corner and the TMO gave his effort the rubber stamp.
Barrett handed the advantage back to the visitors only for Taute to reply by finding the target with a long-range penalty to put the Lions back in front.
The closing minutes of the half belonged to the Hurricanes however as the visitors grabbed the opportunity afforded by the uncontested scrums and increased their lead to six points just before the break thanks to an excellent finish in the corner by full-back Andre Taylor.
Elton Jantjies and Barrett exchanged penalties early in the second half to leave the status quo but the Lions were next to cross the chalk as Franco van der Merwe crashed over from short range.
Jantjies made no mistake with the easy conversion to put the Lions back in front by a single point at 18-17.
But the reply from the 'Canes was almost immediate as Conrad Smith showed some neat soccer skills with a ball spilt by the Lions to set up speeding hooker Dane Coles.
Just two minutes later Cory Jane was also over in the corner after chasing Barrett's chip ahead. The visiting fly-half missed both conversions but the Lions had nevertheless seen their lead turn into a nine-point deficit in less than five minutes.
Jantjies put the Lions back within striking distance with his second penalty before James muscled his way past two defenders to score.
The conversion put the Lions 28-27 up but the 'Canes would have the last laugh, building steadily with their forwards through 18 phases until finally winning the penalty for off-side in front of the sticks.
20-year-old Barrett made amends for his earlier misses to give Mark Hammett's team their first win of the campaign.
Tries: Taute, Van der Merwe, James
Cons: Jantjies 2
Pens: Taute, Jantjies 2
Tries: Taylor, Coles, Jane
Pens: Barrett 5
Lions: 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Deon Van Rensburg, 13 Doppies La Grange, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Michael Killian, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Joshua Strauss (c), 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Franco Van der Merwe, 4 Stephan Greeff, 3 Patric Cilliers, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Hendrik Roodt, 19 Cobus Grobbleaar, 20 Tian Meyer, 21 Butch James, 22 James Kamana.
Hurricanes: 15 Andre Taylor, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith (c), 12 Tim Bateman, 11 Alapati Leiua, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Chris Eaton, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Faifili Levave, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Ben May, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Tristan Moran.
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu'u, 17 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 18 James Broadhurst, 19 Brad Shields, 20 TJ Perenara, 21 Daniel Kirkpatrick, 22 Charlie Ngatai.
Referee: Steve Walsh