The Runner Sports

Elton Jantjies’ Boot Holds True In Lions’ Semifinal Win

Despite concern over his abilities during the week, Elton Jantjies took the Lions to an impressive win over the Hurricanes. Last week, Elton Jantjies had a poor performance against the Sharks; he was two for six kicking. Many people over the week did not believe that Jantjies had the stomach to deal with knockout rugby. This week, there were no such concerns. Jantjies was responsible for 19 of the Lions’ 44 points with a 75% kicking percentage. His kicking was especially true when the Lions were fighting back from a deep deficit in the second half. Elton Jantjies’ kicking from hand was well placed and helped the Lions gain solid field position in the second half.

Hurricanes dominate early, but the Lions fought back in the second half

The match seemed to be wrapped up very early for the Hurricanes. The Hurricanes dominated the Lions in the first half, as much due to Lions mistakes as their own abilities. The Hurricanes allowed the Lions to maintain possession and the Lions were more than obliging to offer up mistakes like TJ Perenara’s first try. It seemed that all the momentum was with the Hurricanes by the end of the first 30 minutes, scoring three tries and a successful kick by Jordie Barrett.

The Lions finally came alive after the last try by Ardie Savea, with Jacques van Rooyen closing out the first half with a try. The second half saw the Lions come out on an absolute tear with a blistering attack against the Hurricanes. By 12 minutes into the second half, the Lions had evened the scoreboard. The Hurricanes were not done yet, though, as on the ensuing kickoff Ngani Laumape got outside the defense to put them back in front.

Beauden Barrett put the Hurricanes in a very difficult position with a yellow card at the Hurricanes’ 5m line for cynical play. The Lions took full advantage of the extra man scoring 17 points while Barrett was in the sin bin. The tables were turned completely by the time Barrett made it back on the pitch. Once the Lions had a two score lead, they refused to give any ground to their opponents.

Following Savea’s try, the Lions outscored the Hurricanes 41-7. Their attack saw line break after line break through the Hurricanes defense. The Lions were heavily using their forwards as powerful bulldozers through the Hurricanes’ lines.

Against all odds, the Lions will have a home final

All through the season, there were numerous complaints that the Lions did not play any New Zealand teams. New Zealand fans had the match all but finalized with a Hurricanes V Crusaders final before the first whistle blow. Although it looked early that all the critics were right, the Lions came back and established themselves well. The Lions are the first South African team to appear in the Super Rugby finals back-to-back years since the Bulls in 2009-10. The match was well fought and sets up an amazing final in Johannesburg.

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David Bradham

Active duty Navy, have a true passion for Rugby.
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