A brilliant first half from the Lions ensured that they started the United Rugby Championship with a bonus point win over Zebra but they almost throw it away in the second half.
The Lions raced to a huge lead but loss that momentum in the second half letting Zebra coming back in the game. At the end they were good enough for a 38-26 win over the Italians in Parma.
It was first half tries by Jamba Ulengo, Burger Odendaal, Maxwane and Visagie that gave the visitors a 35-0 lead at the break. This looked set to be a long afternoon for the Italian outfit but a massive fight back saw them claw their way back in the second half.
The host first try only came in the 51 minute of the match which spark them to life. It was tries by Canna, Boni, Fabiani with a penalty try which gave the Lions a massive scare.
It was Ulengo who scored the first try of the new competition after some great play by the team and even better pass from Hendrikse that open the first half floodgates.
Odendaal went over for their second a few minutes later as Zebra could not contain the speed the Lions was playing at. Everything worked for the Lions form the set pieces to the bounce of the ball which left Zebra to scrabble in defence for most of that first half.
Maxwane who scored two tries showed off his skill and pace on the wing. He was also rightly named the man of the match after the game.
Visagie ended one of the best halves we have seen from the Lions for a long time.
They started the second half well and it was a penalty from Hendrikse that open the scoring but it was here were the home side started to dominate the game.
They had most of the ball as the Lions went into defensive mode and giving away just too many penalties which gave Zebre great attacking position.
It was Canna who scored the first try for the home side wooing of their handling skill. A penalty try was Zebre second points after the Lions collapse a driving maul close to their line and soon followed their third and forth try when Boni and Fabiani got over.
It looked like the Lions ran out of steam but started to get their defensive structure back to keep Zebra out from scoring anymore.
It was just what the Lions needed to get their campaign off to a winning start but plenty of work still to do for the Johannesburg outfit.
Zebre: Tries – Canna, Penalty try, Boni, Fabiani Conversions – Canna (2),
Lions: Tries – Ulengo, Odendaal, Maxwane 2(), Visagie Conversions: Hendrikse (5) Penalties: Hendrikse
UNITED RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP LOG
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