Replacement flanker Pieter Louw scored a try five minutes from the end as Western Stormers snatched a 19-16 win over Golden Lions in a Super 15 match at Newlands on Saturday.
The Lions seemed set to end a nine-match losing streak against the Stormers in the southern hemisphere inter-provincial championship when they held a 16-9 lead with 15 minutes remaining.
However, the Stormers, who spent much of the South African clash on the defensive, took control in the closing stages when fly-half Peter Grant came off the bench and brought authority to the home team’s backline.
Grant was not in the starting line-up because he arrived back from a stint of club rugby in Japan only during the week of the match.
He landed a penalty to reduce the deficit to four points. When the Stormers were awarded another penalty, Grant kicked for touch, Andries Bekker made a clean take at the lineout and Louw went over from a driving maul.
Louw was on the field because Stormers captain and Springbok flank Schalk Burger cried off at half-time with a knee injury.
“The jitters are out of the way now,” said Jean de Villiers, who took over the captaincy. “We have played our first match and now we can look forward to next week.”
Stormers started strongly and opened the scoring with a penalty goal by fly-half Gary van Aswegen, but this was quickly canceled by a penalty from opposite number Elton Jantjies.
Lions then dominated for long periods, but only had one try to show for their efforts by half-time.
A sweeping move, which started near the halfway line, ended with center Waylon Murray scoring in the left corner in the 15th minute after a pop-up pass from hooker Bandise Maku.
Jantjies, who had a lively game, made a searing break soon after which took the Lions within 5m of the Stormers line. The Lions several times came close to scoring and Stormers hooker Deon Fourie was yellow carded as the home team were forced on to desperate defense.
SHARKS 26, BLUES 12
REUTERS, DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA
Flyhalf Patrick Lambie scored a try and kicked 16 points as the Sharks beat New Zealand’s Auckland Blues on Saturday.
“It was a great result for us against a quality team,” Sharks captain Stefan Terblanche said. “If you’d have given us two wins to kick off the campaign we would have taken it.”
The Sharks, who beat the Cheetahs at home in round one, began in impressive fashion on a sweltering afternoon when 20-year-old Springbok outside half Lambie scored a try, converted it and then kicked a penalty to give his side a 10-0 lead in as many minutes.
Lambie, who made his test debut last November against Ireland, looked to have taken the wrong option when he grubbered the ball ahead just meters from the opposition line, only for it to rebound off a Blues defender for him to collect and crash over.
The Blues, who edged the Crusaders last week, clawed their way back through two penalties by flyhalf Stephen Brett, but they were undone by a lack of penetration from their normally incisive backs.
Lambie and Brett kept the scoreboard ticking over with a series of penalties to take the score to 19-9 before replacement Luke McAlister kicked over for the Blues with 14 minutes left to cut the deficit to seven points.
There was to be no comeback, however, as Sharks replacement back Jacques-Louis Potgieter intercepted a lazy Blues pass on 74 minutes to put another sub, winger JP Pietersen, away for a try under the posts that sealed the win.