Lions and Sharks cause upsets in opening weekend
February 16, 2014
Marnitz Boshoff booted the Lions to victory © Getty Images
A late drop goal from Marnitz Boshoff kicked the new Super Rugby season off in dramatic fashion as the Lions upset the Cheetahs 21-20 in Bloemfontein.
Boshoff's six penalties had kept the Lions in contention in a game where they had been outscored two tries to one, a contrast to Cheetah's kicker Johan Goosen, who missed two early penalties and a crucial attempt three minutes from time. The Cheetahs had gone ahead in the 20th minute as Raymond Rule collected a Willie Le Roux pass to cross in the corner.
Le Roux played a key role in the Cheetah's second try after the break, when a good period of pressure allowed Cornall Henricks to touch down. A Boshoff penalty five minutes from time kept the Lions in the contest and, with the 80th minute approaching, he dropped back in the pocket and found target.
In the second all-South African encounter Jake White's Sharks powered to a 31-16 bonus-point win over the Bulls.
Paul Jordaan, Jacobus Reinach and Odwa Ndungane went over in a devastating opening 40 minutes as the Sharks opened up a 23-9 half-time lead against the Bulls, champions in 2007, 2009 and 2010. The second half saw the return of former Springbok Victor Matfield for the Bulls but even his presence could not muster a comeback, though Jono Ross' try eight minutes from time gave them hope.
But in the end the final act came from Springbok fly-half Pat Lambie, who went over in injury time to finish the game with a personal haul of 16 points, and the bonus point for the Sharks - giving White's men a dream start to the season.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Arsene Wenger was left furious at Arjen Robben after Arsenal's Champions League last-16 exit to Bayern Munich and branded the winger a "good diver"
Jenson Button has spoken candidly for the first time on the 'horrific' and heart-breaking grief he suffered after his father's death earlier this year.
Wayne Rooney has revealed his ambition to captain not just Manchester United but also England on a permanent basis
West Indies outmuscled England to win the T20 series 2-0 with one to play courtesy of a five-wicket win with seven balls to spare at Kensington Oval
Jelena Jankovic routed Caroline Wozniacki 6-3 6-1 to reach the quarter-finals at Indian Wells on Tuesday, winning a tie of former tournament champions and world No.1 ranked players
Ahead of his home grand prix and first race for Red Bull this weekend, Daniel Ricciardo sat down with media on the 29th floor of a Melbourne tower block to talk about his team's testing troubles, going up against a four-time champion and hooking up his si
SANZAR's expansion plans don't address the question of how you jazz up Super Rugby to make it the best rugby tournament in the world, Craig Dowd writes
Mark Hammett and the Hurricanes are struggling, but still he deserves more time to impart his philosophy on the Wellington franchise, Craig Dowd writes
Lewis Hamilton may not have come close to matching his 2008 title-winning season in recent years, but the regulations shake-up and the powerful Mercedes engine could see him sweep all before him in Formula One this season
"The loudest cheer at a rugby game, away from social media gimmicks, pumping music and pyrotechnics will always be for a try." Tom Hamilton on the Twickenham atmosphere
Manchester United are in negotiations with Sporting Lisbon over the signing of defensive midfielder William Carvalho, according a report in the Daily Mail
Juan Mata wants to play in the No.10 role for Manchester United and does not see himself as the winger manager David Moyes is using him as
George Groves has called for foreign officials to be appointed for his rematch against Carl Froch at Wembley Stadium on May 31
Carl Froch's rematch with George Groves at Wembley Stadium on May 31 has sold 60,000 tickets in less than an hour
Manchester United are the latest Premier League club to track Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata and sources have told ESPN FC that they are seriously considering making a bid for the player this summer
The last time the British and Irish Lions toured Down Under, they lost out 2-1 to Australia in the series despite winning the first Test.
The events of last Saturday night in Las Vegas should be educational for all concerned with Froch-Groves II at Wembley, writes Steve Bunce
Joga Bonito's gone out of the window in Brazil. That's the view of Uruguay captain Diego Lugano, handily expressed ahead of their Confederations Cup semi-final showdown in Belo Horizonte.
After each round of Premier League fixtures, ESPN FC brings you its Team of the Weekend. Selected by our panel of experts, 11 of Saturday's star performers, along with a manager, are carefully chosen. Do you agree or disagree?
The start of the new Premier League season is still almost two months away but you can still bet on who will relegated come May 2014.