The DHL Stormers suffered a 10-34 loss to the Lions in their 2014 Vodacom Super Rugby opener in Johannesburg tonight.
The Lions ran into a 13-0 lead after five minutes – through a converted try and two drop-goals – and the DHL Stormers were not able to get into their stride as they suffered a first Super Rugby loss at Ellis Park since 2002.
The Stormers also lost Schalk Burger to an injury during the first half, the Springbok flanker limping off with what looked like a groin injury, and it all contributed to a season-opening defeat for the Men from the Cape.
Hooker Scarra Ntubeni scored his team’s only try, from a well-executed rolling maul in the first half, and flyhalf Demetri Catrakilis kicked one conversion and one penalty for the DHL Stormers.
The Stormers trailed by 10-22 at half-time and began the second half strongly, twice forcing the Lions to concede yellow cards on defence, but they were unable to take advantage of their overlaps and the Lions were able to keep the scoreboard ticking over at crucial times in the match.
It was a disappointing start to the Stormers’ 2014 Super Rugby campaign, but they will look to bounce back at home against the Hurricanes next Friday (at DHL Newlands – kick-off 19h10), before they travel overseas two days later on a tough four-game tour.
A disappointed skipper Jean de Villiers pulled no punches after his team’s defeat, saying: “It was really poor from our side, but credit must go to the Lions for the way they played tonight.
“They showed a lot of desire on the night and we could certainly learn from that. It’s left us with more questions than answers, but have a lot to work on next week and plenty to ponder on Monday.”
For the Lions:
Pens: Boshoff 6
DGs: Boshoff 3
For the DHL Stormers:
Lions: 15 Chrysander Botha, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Stefan Watermeyer, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Ruan Combrinck, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Derick Minnie, 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 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Luvuyiso Lusaseni, 20 Warwick Tecklenburg, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Jacobus Jonker, 23 Coenie van Wyk.
DHL Stormers: 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Michael van der Spuy, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Damian de Allende, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Manuel Carizza, 4 Rynhardt Elstadt, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Oliver Kebble, 18 Pat Cilliers, 19 Michael Rhodes, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Kurt Coleman, 23 Ryno Eksteen.
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jason Jaftha (South Africa), Cobus Wessels (South Africa)
TMO: Johan Greeff (South Africa)