The Lions got back to winning ways when they secured an important bonus-point victory over the Brumbies in a Super Rugby match at Ellis Park on Saturday night.
The win consolidated the Lions' position on top of the South African Conference following three successive defeats on their recent tour of Australia and New Zealand. But the home side weren't quite as dominant as the scoreboard suggests, as the Brumbies' ill discipline rather than the home team's good play helped them to gather the five points for the win.
Brumbies lock Rory Arnold will have to buy his team a round of beers. With the Brumbies ahead in the first half, he was sent to the bin for 10 minutes after collapsing a Lions maul. Arnold was then red-carded for a high tackle -- again with his team in the lead -- in the second half, before his lock partner Sam Carter was also yellow-carded for illegally stopping a Lions maul.
The Lions led 21-17 at the break after scoring three tries in the first half to the Brumbies' two. After speedy fullback Thomas Banks gave the Brumbies a shock lead in the first minute, Lions centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg crashed over from close range in the ninth minute.
Tevita Kurindrani gave the Brumbies a 14-7 lead in the 16th minute after the Lions struggled to get some rhythm on attack. But the Lions would hit back with two maul tries by hooker Robbie Coetzee and prop Ruan Dreyer during Arnold's absence.
The Brumbies took a 24-21 lead in the 52nd minute when Banks scored a wonderful individual try by outpacing the Lions defence on the right wing.
But the match was turned on its head when Arnold got sent off after his shoulder connected with Elton Jantjies' jaw on the hour mark. The Lions opted for touch, and after two more infringements at the maul Carter was sent off for 10 minutes.
The Lions then crashed over from another maul, with Marnus Schoeman the last man to get up the ball. Lock Lourens Erasmus and replacement back Shaun Reynolds then scored two more tries to give the Lions the bonus-point win.
Flyhalf Elton Jantjies, who played his 100th Super Rugby match, landed all six conversions.