Planet Rugby

Lions drown in a Storm of tries

14th March 2009 16:45


Andries Bekker v Lions 2009

Double try-scorer: Andries Bekker

The Stormers romped past the Lions in a ten-try bonanza on Saturday, eventually winning 56-18 at Newlands on Saturday.

High-risk rugby was the name of the game as both teams gave the ball lots of airtime. It was one of those must-win games that brings the best and the worst out of sides under pressure, and the Stormers' adventurous spirit paid off at crucial times.

It was anyone's game for 37 minutes but tries for the home side just before and just after half-time gave them a healthy lead and the floodgates opened from there.

Unlike the last time the Newlands faithful parted with their hard-earned Rands to watch their side (a woeful affair against the Blues), the home fans couldn't possibly complain that they didn't get value for their money. While the Stormers' off-loading in the tackle was top notch, the Lions scrum was at it's bone-crunching best.

Eight tries and a bonus point in a South African derby made for exactly the send off the Cape side needed before setting off on their overseas 'tour of hell.'

While the Lions defence in the second half was nothing to write home about, the Stormers' ability to keep the ball alive on attack was straight out of the text book.

The truth be told, the scoreline was a little harsh on the Lions, who showed glimpses of what they are capable of before falling apart in the last half-an-hour. Their decision making went totally pear-shaped as it became clear that they are unable to deliver under pressure.

Stormers fly-half Willem de Waal opened the scoring with a penalty after ten minutes. It was hard luck on the Lions, who had been making the early running.

The Lions would be first to cross the whitewash however when Louis Ludik split Jean de Villiers and Nick Koster, handed off the Springbok centre and then turned on the gas to put his side ahead on the quarter-hour mark.

The visitors moved further ahead when Jaque Fourie snatched the ball from Andries Bekker in full flight and then broke clear. He slipped a pass inside to Henno Mentz, who had far too much pace for the chasing defenders.

The Stormers had been a little irresponsible with the ball in hand, trying too much too early, and paid the price.

The home side would strike back almost immediately though. The Lions made a mess of the restart and Schalk Burger ran onto the loose ball and flattened Ashwin Willemse en-route to the tryline. De Waal's conversion made the score 10-12 and we had a game on our hands.

Stormers flank Francois Louw rounded off a frenetic four minutes that saw seventeen points scored by crashing over after finding a gap the Lions line from 5 metres out.

Andre Pretorius' second penalty made the scores 18-18 with half time near at hand but a try from Andries Bekker would swing the game definitively in the Stormers' favour.

Schalk Brits showed some fancy footwork to step Laurence Sephaka and found the flying Bekker on his inside. And so the rot started for the Lions.

It was one way traffic in the second half as the Stormers scored 33 unanswered points.

Percy Montgomery got the ball rolling, beating three defenders to put Gcobani Bobo over. The next try came from Sireli Naqelevuki. The big Fijian running an angle at pace was simply unstoppable.

The wheels came off the Lions wagon as Bekker scored his second try after De Villiers beat both his opposite centres to send the big lock clear.

De Villiers himself scored number seven as he plucked a cross-field kick-pass out the air and sailed away in the open. Replacement scrum-half Dewaldt Duvenage rubbed salt in the Lions' open wounds with five minutes to play as the Stormers kept the ball alive through countless tackles to score their eighth try.

Man of the match: Schalk Burger had a fabulous game for the home side and Lions prop Heinke van der Merwe made a mockery of Brian Mujati at scrum time. But we'll give the gong to double try scorer Andries Bekker who was all over the park and in all the right places at the right times.

The Scorers

For the Stormers:

Tries: Burger, Louw, Bekker 2, Bobo, Naqelevuki, De Villiers, Duvenage

Cons: De Waal, Grant 4

Pens: De Waal 2

For the Lions:

Tries: Ludik, Mentz

Cons: Pretorius

Pens: Pretorius 2

Yellow cards: Vermaak ( Lions - 26th min - killing ball)

Stormers: 15 Percy Montgomery, 14 Nick Koster, 13 Gcobani Bobo, 12 Jean De Villiers (c), 11 Sireli Naqelevuki, 10 Willem De Waal, 9 Ricky Januarie, 8 Duane Vermeulen , 7 Francois Louw , 6 Schalk Burger, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Adriaan Fondse, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Wicus Blaauw.

Replacements: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 JD Moller, 18 AJ Venter, 19 Luke Watson, 20 Dewaldt Duvenage, 21 Tonderai Chavhanga, 22 Peter Grant.

Lions: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Ashwin Willemse, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Barry Goodes, 11 Henno Mentz, 10 Andre Pretorius, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Willem Alberts, 7 Franco van der Merwe, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar (c), 5 Anton van Zyl, 4 Jannes Labuschagne, 3 Lawrence Sephaka, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Heinke van der Merwe.

Replacements: 16 Hans van Dyk, 17 Gert Muller, 18 Gerhardt Mostert, 19 Todd Clever, 20 Chris Jonck, 21 Earl Rose, 22 Shandre Frolick.

Date: Saturday, March 14

Venue: Newlands

Kick-off: 17:00 (15:00 GMT)

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)

Touch judges: Phillip Bosch (South Africa), Jaco Peyper (South Africa)

TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

Assessor: Glenn Wahlstrom (New Zealand)

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