Lions end winless run 25-20 over Cheetahs - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Lions end winless run 25-20 over Cheetahs

By David Legge 13/03/2011 02:58:56 PM Comments (0)

Coach John Mitchell's Lions ended 23 fruitless months when they edged fellow South Africans the Cheetahs 25-20 in a Super Rugby thriller at Bloemfontein on Saturday.

It was the Lions' first victory since a May, 2009 win over the Hurricanes.

The Johannesburg-based franchise is showing real signs of improvement with their attacking style under their new coach, former All Blacks and Western Force mentor Mitchell.

Last season the Lions suffered the humiliation of losing all 13 matches, some by wide margins, and captain Franco van der Merwe appeared stunned that the losing run was finally over.

"I have forgotten what it feels like to win a Super rugby match and let us hope this is the first of many victories. We came so close to winning so often and nearly threw this one away a couple of times.

"We give our supporters palpitations sometimes when we run the ball from inside our '22', but we have a game plan and must stick to it," the lock said.

Lions did well not to concede any points while New Zealand-born fullback James Kamana, starting a match for the first time, was in the sin bin for a dangerous tackle midway through the second half.

Cheetahs centre Andries Strauss - latest captain of the Bloemfontein outfit after injuries have sidelined flanker Juan Smith and hooker Adriaan Strauss - cut a dejected figure after a fourth consecutive loss this season.

"It is so frustrating and disappointing. We could have won today but were not clinical enough. There were too many handling errors and this meant having to make more tackles. Our discipline left much to be desired."

The Lions climbed four places from second last thanks to the win while Cheetahs remain rooted to the bottom with only three bonus points and next weekend take on the NSW Waratahs as they begin a four-match tour of Australasia, where they have never won.

A consolation for the losers was the successful return of Springbok flank Heinrich Brussow, who underwent two operations after injuring his left knee against the Hurricanes last March.

'Scavenger' Brussow was his usual busy self in the loose and played a role in several turnovers before coming off eight minutes into the second half as a precaution because he lacks match fitness.

Fly-halves Sias Ebersohn of Cheetahs and Elton Jantjies of Lions kicked five penalties each and the difference was the visitors scored two tries while the home team crossed the line only once.

Former Cheetahs wing Lionel Mapoe and flank Derick Minnie dotted down for the Lions, who led 16-14 at half-time in a match where the lead changed five times, while Strauss was the lone try scorer for the home side.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2024 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news