Planet Rugby

Lions sink to a new low

01st May 2010 15:25

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JC Janse van Rensburg lions v force

Toothless Lions no Force in Jo'burg

The Lions remain winless in this year's Super 14 after going down 33-12 to the Western Force at Coca-Cola Park in Johannesburg on Saturday.

The hosts have now equalled the Bulls' Super 14 record with eleven consecutive defeats. And, including their last game of 2009, the Lions have run up 12 successive losses in the competition.

Western Force fly-half David Hill contributed 28 points in a game which the visitors led from the first minute to the last, picking up their fourth win to remain in eleventh place on the log.

After Hill and opposite number Herkie Kruger traded four first-half penalties apiece, Scott Staniforth broke through late in the first half. And scores after the break from Hill and Mark Bartholomeusz made victory secure.

Hill set the Perth side on their way with two penalties in the first three minutes.

They led 9-3 after the Lions' Kruger and Hill traded further shots, with Brett Sheehan off target for the Force with another effort in between.

Hill stretched the lead by a further three points as the kicking duel continued, but indiscipline from the Australian side allowed Kruger to kick nine points in eight minutes and level the scores at 12 apiece.

Flanker Matt Hodgson had been sin-binned along the way, but when the Lions' Wikus van Heerden followed five minutes before the interval the Force took full advantage.

A rare passage of spirited attacking running saw Bartholomeusz make good ground and set up a move which ended with Staniforth touching down. Hill added the extras to make it 19-12 at the interval.

Whatever Dick Muir and Ray Mordt said to the Lions at half-time seemed to spur them into life and they twice surged towards the visitors' line only to knock on as the chance presented itself.

The Force responded and Nathan Sharpe was held at bay a yard out before good work by prop Matt Dunning went to waste as a subsequent pass went to ground.

Staniforth was forced into touch but the breakthrough came when Pek Cowan received good line-out ball and put Hill over, the fly-half converting his own try. And Hill repeated the dose after Bartholomeusz crossed to complete a comfortable win.

The scorers:

For Lions:
Pens: Kruger 4

Western Force:
Tries: Staniforth, Hill, Bartholomeusz
Cons: Hill 3
Pens: Hill 4

Lions: 15 Carlos Spencer, 14 Michael Killian, 13 Deon van Rensburg, 12 Walter Venter, 11 Tonderai Chavhanga, 10 Herkie Kruger, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Derick Minnie, 7 Wikus van Heerden, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 Nico Luus, 4 George Earl, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Charles Emslie, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Hannes Franklin, 17 Heinke van der Merwe, 18 Jacques Lombard, 19 Justin Wheeler, 20 Jacques Coetzee, 21 Jaco Taute/Wigan Pekeur, 22 Bernardo Botha.

Western Force: 15 Cameron Shepherd, 14 Scott Staniforth, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Ryan Cross, 11 Nick Cummins, 10 David Hill, 9 Brett Sheehan, 8 Richard Brown, 7 David Pocock, 6 Matt Hodgson, 5 Nathan Sharpe (c), 4 Sam Wykes, 3 Matt Dunning, 2 Ben Whittaker, 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Charles, 17 Kieran Longbottom, 18 Tom Hockings, 19 Ben McCalman, 20 Justin Turner, 21 Sam Harris, 22 Mark Bartholomeusz.

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)

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