Lions Roar Past Crusaders - Green and Gold Rugby
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Lions Roar Past Crusaders

Lions Roar Past Crusaders

The Lions have swept into the semi finals in style with a six tries to three, 42-25 victory over the Crusaders at Ellis Park overnight and will now host the Highlanders in the semi finals next week.

First Half

Going into the match one wondered if the Lions would stick to their winning formula or revert to what we’re more used to seeing from South African sides. It took roughly 60 seconds for that question to be answered, wing Courtnall Skosan scoring from a break near the half way mark, outrunning Israel Dagg for the corner.

Crusaders lock Luke Romano was sin-binned for a maul infringement shortly afterwards, the Lions taking full advantage with centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg scoring from close range and flyhalf Elton Jantjies adding the extras. Jantjies then made it 15-0 inside 15 minutes from which point the result seemed inevitable.

The Crusaders dominated possession and territory for most of the second quarter, wing Johnny McNicholl making some telling runs. They finally got on the board with a Richie Mo’unga penalty and not long after centre Ryan Crotty raised hopes of a comeback with a try after 32 minutes for 10-15.

The Lions had the final say in the half, though, hooker Malcolm Marx driving over from a lineout just before the hooter sounded and Jantjies converting.

Half Time: Lions 22-10 Crusaders

Second Half

Mo’unga closed the gap with a penalty early in the half but Jantjies restored the 12-point buffer with a neatly taken drop goal under penalty advantage after 53 minutes. He backed that up with a penalty in the 62nd for a commanding 28-13 lead.

The Crusaders struck back immediately with a try to replacement half back Mitchell Drummond from a Mo’unga bomb but even at 20-28 one had the feeling that the Crusaders were done for the night.

The Lions made a raft of changes at 67 minutes as they looked to close the game out. Immediate dividends were paid with wing Ruan Combrinck dotting down after a huge bust by centre Lionel Mapoe.

The final 10 minutes were a bit of a free-for-all with Lions replacement half back Ross Cronje scoring from a Mapoe kick and replacement Crusaders back Ben Volavola scoring a late consolation try.

Final Score: Lions 42-25 Crusaders

Game Changer

At 10-15 the Crusaders were well in the game but Malcolm Marx’s 39th minute try gave the hosts a 12-point lead they were never going to surrender.

Man of the Match

Elton Jantjies showed why he should be the Springboks’ starting 10, barely putting a foot wrong and steering his team around the park in impressive fashion.

The Details

Score and Scorers

Lions: 42
Tries: Courtnall Skosan(2′) Rohan Janse van Rensburg(7′) Malcolm Marx(40′) Ruan Combrinck(69′) Ross Cronje(75′)
Conversions: Elton Jantjies 4/5
Penalties: Elton Jantjies 2/3
Drop Goals: Elton Jantjies 1/1 


Crusaders: 25
Tries: Ryan Crotty(33′) Mitchell Drummond(63′) Ben Volavola(80′)
Conversions: Richie Mo’unga 2/3
Penalties: Richie Mo’unga 2/2 

Cards & Citings

Yellow: Luke Romano (5’)

  • Paul

    Congratulations to the Lions. Defended well, and took their chances and deserved to win. Crusaders looked a little off – maybe the travel/altitude. Lions will be hard to beat at home. Should be a great game next week versus the Highlanders. Janse van Rensburg was a real handful.

  • Rebels3

    The crusaders will be wishing they can get the first 10mins back.

    Credit where credit is due tho the lions are the real deal. Their no12 is an absolute superstar in the making. I honestly don’t think iv ever been that impressed from a young South African backline player.

    The lions greatest attribute tho must be their coach. What he has done is absolutely phenomenal. The lions ability to play what’s in front of them, execute their skills under pressure and all with a solid set piece is very impressive.

  • A Fan

    Very entertaining side the Lions, got to hope a lot of these fresh faces get picked in the Springboks side and are allowed to play the way they have this season. I believe they have now scored more tries and points than any other side in Super Rugby history which is phenomenal. The only South African side which deserved to make the finals.

    It is fantastic that the finals have worked themselves out fairly, the top 4 teams by actual table points are now the four teams left and it should make for some excellent semi finals.

    Great strategy by the Wallabies set up to save the squad the hassle of having to go back and forth from South Africa like the Chiefs, Highlanders and Crusaders have had to endue over the last few weeks by not having any teams in from here on out. It also lessens the risk of Dan Coles type injuries that are bound to happen over the next two weeks. This way the squad is as rested and healthy as possible while the attrition to the All Blacks that we desperately need may just happen. Let their depth be tested.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      One of the few highlights of the Australian season so far.

      • A Fan

        The only highlight so far is the signing of Mick Byrne as skills coach. That is the beginning and end of any list.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Great game by the lions. Unfortunate for so many Crusaders and players to leave this way but the result was absolutely deserved. Next week against the Highlanders will be awesome.

  • You would have to bet the Lions will maul the Highlanders too. Go Lions!

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Nah mate the highlanders have a much better defence than the Crusaders and also have more heart. It goes along with the better coaching staff who get more from their team.

    • Paul

      Whilst the Crusaders are a good team, I think the Highlanders are better. It will not be so easy for the Lions this week. The Highlanders also seem to perform well as underdogs when their backs are against the wall.

  • jamie

    Geez, Rohan Janse van Rensburg is one big fucken unit for a 12 isn’t he? Think I’ve found my new favourite Sooth Ufreekan player. The Lions should win the SR Championship from here. Play a fantastic style of rugby.

  • Owen McCaffrey

    Been impressed with the Lions for two seasons now. I still believe they have an outside chance to win this year. I still remember them travelling to Dunedin and playing in a thrilling 29-all draw 2 years ago. It was about then that I said “this is a young side and given time they will dominate”

  • Nick

    You’re right, they should have had a press conference saying, “We aren’t fit and are lacking skills, we’ll probably lose the series 2-1 or 3-0. Please come and support us!”

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