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.
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