S15: Lions 39, Blues 36


imagesIf it is true, as the adage states, that it starts up front, then the Lions have a big advantage. Their set pieces and kicking game have been among the most effective in the competition.

The Blues, in contrast, are among the worst. The Blues’ scrum success rate (57 percent) is certainly the worst in Super Rugby this season. Conversely, the Lions have a scrum success rate of 89 percent. However, the Lions have scored just five tries and let eight in, in four matches. They have relied heavily on the super boot of flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff, who has displaced Springbok Elton Jantjies for this week’s outing.

Boshoff has a goal-kicking strike rate of 95 percent, a Super Rugby high. After beating the Cheetahs and Stormers in the first two weeks, the Lions have come unstuck badly against the Bulls and Sharks. That, according to coach Johan Ackermann, is because they gave the opposition a head-start. “We had a very poor first half, but we were still in the game, down by just seven points, late in the match,” Ackermann told this website when asked about the reason by his team’s slump in form in the past fortnight.

“The positive is the fact that the guys never stopped playing. “However, we can’t afford to play that poorly in the first half and think we will win games – we have to make sure we have better starts. “The players have to realise that in Super Rugby, if you gift a team chances, like we did, they will punish you. “We will have to be a lot more accurate in everything we do.

“The guys learnt a tough lesson, but hopefully it will improve in the next few weeks.” The Blues, who solitary win against the Crusaders is sandwiched between two defeats, do have the ability to punish teams that are even just slightly off their game. They scored four scintillating tries in a 20-minute blitz on the way to a 35-24 win over the Crusaders.

And the Lions’ tackle success rate of 87 percent is pretty average by Super Rugby standards – which means the visitors could punish them if they are not on top of their fame. Blues coach John Kirwan said the focus this week had been on keeping it simple, and he was expecting a similar game to what the Bulls produced last week against the Lions. “The Lions play a similar type of game to the Bulls,” Kirwan said.

“We have to match their enthusiasm, we have to be patient with the ball, cut down our errors and take our points when they’re there. We can’t let them get away to a good start.”

Kirwan said it was important to head home to New Zealand with points from South Africa. “It’s not desperation time but if you want to be around at the end of the tournament then you’ve got to keep in touch with the leaderboard,” he said. “If we do that this week we’re totally in touch with the leaderboard and we’ve played four games with a 50 percent winning record heading home and South Africa out of the way with what would be seen as a pretty difficult start to the season so if we can come home from South Africa with some points we’ll be in pretty good shape.”

Recent results:
2012: Blues won 25-3, Auckland
2011: Blues won 41-32, Johannesburg
2010: Blues won 56-14, Johannesburg
2009: Blues won 36-12, Auckland
2008: Blues won 55-10, Johannesburg
2007: Blues won 41-14, Auckland

Lions: 15 Coenie van Wyk, 14 JW Jonker, 13 Deon van Rensburg, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Willie Britz, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Franco Mostert, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Willie Wepener, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Luvuyiso Lusaseni, 20 Warwick Tecklenburg, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Ruan Combrinck.

Blues: 15 Benji Marshall, 14 Frank Halai, 13 George Moala, 12 Pita Ahki, 11 Charles Piutau, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Piri Weepu , 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Luke Braid (captain), 6 Brendon O’Connor, 5 Tom Donnelly, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Tom McCartney, 17 Sam Prattley, 18, Angus Ta’avao, 19 Liaki Moli, 20 Jordan Manihera, 21 Bryn Hall, 22 Simon Hickey, 23 Jackson Willison.

Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Christie du Preez (South Africa), Francois de Bruin (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)

Facebook Comments
Better known as Bunny, Took over after Pissant went over to the "Dark Side"


  1. Half Time at Ellis Park we see the Lions lead 17-0 against the Blues.
    Lions worked hard in the first 30 min to get away from the Blues in the last 10 to put up 17 min with the yellow card that was given against the Blues.

    Both teams wanted to run the ball and play some running rugby but the Lions turning opportunities into points whereas the Blues have made too many mistakes on the attack.

    Lions can seal this game if they come out in the second half and keep their composure.

  2. Lions have made 69 tackles to the Blues 28. Lions have missed 10 whilst Blues have missed 6 tackles in all. The top tackler is F.VD Merwe and Kriel with 8 each in the game so far

  3. This is just plain an insult to the game.. ball went forward from lions player and TMO and Ref decided it was ripped.

    In all of that the Lions score a try

    Score Lions 30, Blues 15

  4. Cronje (prop) strike the best gap of the day and the Lions spoil the try they should have got but get penalty for their trouble…

    Boshoff knocks it over

    Score Lions 36, Blues 29 with 6 min left

  5. Are the Lions paying that utterly useless No.11
    or is he paying them?
    :Rule 9: :Rule 9:
    Talk about a fortunmate win.
    At times it was like taking candy from a kid
    by the Blues.

  6. Only saw 2nd half. Lions have a few good players
    and quite a few that should not even be playing
    Vodacom Cup.
    And we think we can field SIX teams?

  7. If a tackler, dislodges the ball with his hands and it goes forward from the perspective of the tackler, the referee always calls it as a knock forward by the tackler, never a knock back by the ball carrier.

    I’ve seen it often and have never heard complaints.

    It follows then that, if the tackler dislodges it backwards it would be incorrect to rule it as a knock forward by the ball carrier.

  8. This scrumhalf we got from the Spears…

    He is by far the best 9 we have playing SR so far…..

    And who else is noticing how easily Boshoff can switch from deep to kick to running flat onto the ball being passed…


    Hell they’ve won some games! That is a DIFFERENCE…

  9. Morne for a team with Vodacom Cup players beating two play off teams from llast season and one of New Zelaand’s sides that THEY rated as play off hopefuls this season… this Lions side is playing with their hearts….

  10. The Chiefs scored exactly a similar try against the Stormers on Friday knocking the ball backwards from a tackle the Chiefs then fell upon…

    But somehow when it happens there we accept it as our own poor play but when one of our sides do it there is “controversy”

    Well South Africans saying the Van Rensburg try was somehow questionable are also something beginning with a C… and the next letter is an U. and it ends with a T

    As for kiwis… nothing questionable aboout them… they’ll whinge if they lose on general principle…

  11. Let’s hope they don’t fall apart on tour.
    I saw just too many basic blunders yesterday.
    Worst was by the 11 wing – his opponent just
    ran past him more than once.
    The way the Lions surrendered points has me
    worrying . . .

  12. @Morné: Something Nick said last night in the studio,

    Every team needs a balance between kicking game, running game and defensive game, sums it up I think….that’s why the Sharks are on top and the Stormers and Cheetahs holds up the log

  13. @Boertjie:

    Ja but the try he scored saw a giant Kiwi fall off a tackle. Also amazing given he was drifting with the attack and with a single jink completely changed the whole angle of the attack and scoring the try. The Lions defence was and remains so far legendary. Against the Stormers they missed something like two tackles out of ninety plus made. One must not forget that this is not a weak Blues side at all.

    He is not the first choice wing though… Anhtony Volmink is being rested.

  14. @DavidS:

    Don’t get me wrong – I’m full of admiration for
    Ackers and co. I just saw the Blues comeback second
    half and there were really some disturbing mistakes
    by the Lions.

  15. @DavidS:

    Also Jesse Mogg’s try against the Waratahs.

    The ball was pushed out of his hands by Falau just before it hit the ground. Yet no knock-on was ruled, the try was awarded.

  16. Had a look at Skosan’s stats…

    He missed only one tackle and after Boshoff’s last kick off which he should have put directly into touch… he made two HUGE hits to stop the BBlues and effectively drive them into their score area.