Planet Rugby

Lions' roar silences the Hurricanes

24th March 2007 19:06


Lions' roar silences the Hurricanes

Stopping the Hurricane: Jerry Collins finds his path blocked

The Lions raced back into play-off contention with and emphatic 30-7 victory over the star-studded Hurricanes side in a Super 14 Round Eight match at Ellis Park on Saturday.

The Lions outscored the lethargic Hurricanes, who brought back all six their reconditioned All Blacks for the match, by two tries to one to move into sixth place on the standings.

It was a brilliant performance by a Lions team who disappointed in losing their last two matches against New Zealand opposition.

Lions' Coach Eugene Eloff's beaming face told of his pride in his pride of Lions, and he had every reason to be proud. They played as a team with great courage and purpose and were full value for their win over a star-studded Hurricanes side that did not play as a team and spent most of the Highveld evening with their heads hanging down in their own territory.

Wait till the reconditioned All Blacks come back, they said. They are only mortals, Eloff said - and Eloff was right. There was no quick fix for the Hurricanes on the return of Piri Weepu, Jerry Collins, Jason Eaton, Andrew Hore, Chris Masoe and Rodney So'oialo. In addition they had great centres in Conrad Smith and Tana Umaga. It did nothing for the team.

Against them was a team - mainly no-name brand players but a team and on the way to becoming household names. The Lions tacked everything, making 133 tackles to 64 in the match. They contested every breakdown and won the turn-overs, Collins, Masoe and So'oialo notwithstanding. They passed and ran with greater fluidity. They chased every kick as if desperate men. They did ordinary things extraordinarily well. They were a team.

The reconditioned All Blacks were not fine-tuned to playing and certainly not to playing in a team. The best of the Hurricanes was probably Cory Jane at fullback, not reconditioned but used to catching, running, tackling, kicking - that sort of rugby thing.

One could not blame travel, for the Lions had travelled to Johannesburg from the North Island of New Zealand while the Hurricanes had come the short distance from Durban. There was nothing jet-lagged about the Lions for their energy seemed boundless, the concentration absolute for the full 80 minutes.

It was a lively match that started with a sober moment as people stood in silence to the memory of Bob Woolmer who was murdered in Jamaica, surely sport's greatest act of madness.

The Lions started well, spreading the ball wide, playing with enthusiasm while the Hurricanes waited for something to click. The Lions ran from behind their own line, and they built up a 6-0 lead when first Eaton was penalised for being off-side and then Umaga was penalised for misbehaving at a tackle.

Umaga had a strange match. For most of it he seemed uninterested and indifferent and then at the end, when all was lost, he suddenly burst into angry life.

Collins had a great break from a line-out and a try seemed imminent but the Lions mowed him down. The Hurricanes had a five-metre line-out but the lines' defence was great and after that they had a chance to give the Hurricanes a lesson in mauling. They did it twice and on each occasion the Hurricanes were penalised. On the second occasion Eaton was the collapser and was sent to the sin bin. Straightaway the Lions kicked out and drove the maul for a try by lively hooker Ethienne Reynecke. 11-0 after 26 minutes.

When André Pretorius kicked an up-and-under into the night sky, Jaque Fourie caught it and Jaco Pretorius was running at the line.

The Hurricanes were off-side and André Pretorius made it 14-0 and then, when Eaton was back on the field, 17-0 with two minutes to the break.

The referee spoke to Umaga who was showing annoyance with him and then the Hurricanes burst into the kick-off and attacked in their best passage of play,. From a five-metre scrum they attacked over and over and then drove Weepu in for a try, which made the score 17-7 at the break.

The Hurricanes were destined not to score again in the match.

André Pretorius opened the scoring in the second half with a soaring drop and then kicked a penalty when Weepu was penalised for holding on.

The Hurricanes had a likely incursion when Umaga burst through but instead Fourie came running away with the ball and the Hurricanes were knocked back into their own territory.

After Masoe had been penalised, the Lions made a line-out on their left. They came right and André Pretorius slipped a grubber into the Hurricanes' in-goal where racing Fourie was first to dive on the ball for the try, which Pretorius converted.

There were 11 minutes left and the Hurricanes attacked down their right with Smith and Umaga prominent but young Brian Mujati won a turn-over, injuring himself in the process but enabling his side to clear.

Man of the Match: It's a terrible job. After the match captain André Pretorius said any one of his team could have been given the man of the Match award as there was a lot of virtue in every one of them but André Pretorius was the leader who controlled the match. He is our Man of the Match.

The scorers:

For the Lions:

Tries: Reynecke, Fourie

Con: Pretorius

Pens: Pretorius 5

DG: Pretorius

For the Hurricanes:

Try: Weepu

Con: Stewart

Yellow card: Jason Eaton (Hurricanes, 26 - repeated infringements, dropping maul)


Lions: 15 Jaco van Schalkwyk, 14 Louis Ludik, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jaco Pretorius, 11 Jannie Boshoff, 10 Andre Pretorius, 9 Enrico Januarie, 8 Jacques Cronjé, 7 Ernst Joubert, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 Anton van Zyl, 4 Cobus Grobler, 3 Bertus Smit, 2 Ethienne Reynecke, 1 Heinke van der Merwe

Replacements: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Brian Mujati, 18 Franco van der Merwe, 19 Willem Alberts, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Louis Strydom, 22 Wylie Human

Hurricanes: 15 Cory Jane, 14 Lome Fa'atau, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Tana Umaga, 11 Hosea Gear, 10 Blair Stewart, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Rodney So'oialo (c), 7 Chris Masoe, 6 Jerry Collins, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Paul Tito, 3 Neemia Tialata, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 John Schwalger.

Replacements: 16 Mahonri Schwalger, 17 Anthony Perenise, 18 Bradley Mika, 19 Luke Andrews, 20 Serge Lilo, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Tamati Ellison

Referee: Matt Goddard (Australia)

Touch judges: Nathan Pearce (Australia), Gareth Lloyd-Jones (South Africa)

Television match official: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

Assessor: Arrie Schoonwinkel (South Africa), Tony Dunlop (New Zealand)

Forthcoming Fixtures
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 28
Bath vs Harlequins19:45
Saturday , November 29
Leicester Tigers vs Wasps15:00
Exeter vs Saracens16:30
Sunday , November 30
London Irish vs Gloucester13:00
London Welsh vs Northampton14:30
Newcastle Falcons vs Sale Sharks15:15
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
International Match
Saturday , November 29
Wales vs South Africa14:30
England vs Australia14:30
More International Match fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , November 28
Munster vs Ulster19:35
Cardiff Blues vs Treviso19:35
Saturday , November 29
Zebre vs Edinburgh15:00
Leinster vs Ospreys17:15
Connacht vs Scarlets19:30
Sunday , November 30
Glasgow Warriors vs Dragons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , November 29
Toulon vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Oyonnax vs Bordeaux-Begles18:30
Lyon vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Castres vs Racing Metro Paris18:30
Toulouse vs Grenoble20:45
Sunday , November 30
Stade Francais vs Brive18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Recent Results
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 23
Saracens 24 - 31 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester TigersLondon Welsh vs Leicester Tigers Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Georgia 35 - 24 JapanGeorgia vs Japan Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Treviso 24 - 24 LeinsterTreviso vs Leinster Report
Edinburgh 28 - 13 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 22
London Irish 23 - 33 BathLondon Irish vs Bath Report
Exeter 31 - 15 WaspsExeter vs Wasps Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Italy 6 - 22 South AfricaItaly vs South Africa Report
England 28 - 9 SamoaEngland vs Samoa Report
France 13 - 18 ArgentinaFrance vs Argentina Report
Wales 16 - 34 New ZealandWales vs New Zealand Report
Scotland 37 - 12 TongaScotland vs Tonga Report
Ireland 26 - 23 AustraliaIreland vs Australia Report
Romania 18 - 9 CanadaRomania vs Canada Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale SharksHarlequins vs Sale Sharks Report
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Fiji 20 - 14 USAFiji vs USA Report
More International Match results
Guinness PRO12
Dragons 12 - 38 MunsterDragons vs Munster Report
Ulster 25 - 16 OspreysUlster vs Ospreys Report
Connacht 43 - 3 ZebreConnacht vs Zebre Report
Scarlets 19 - 9 Glasgow WarriorsScarlets vs Glasgow Warriors Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 16
Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 SaracensLeicester Tigers vs Saracens Report
Wasps 71 - 7 London WelshWasps vs London Welsh Report
More Aviva Premiership results
International Match
Ireland 49 - 7 GeorgiaIreland vs Georgia Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , November 15
Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London IrishSale Sharks vs London Irish Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Aviva Premiership Table
5Leicester Tigers821