Stormers, Bulls snatch tight victories as Springboks return to action in pre-season double-header
Both teams scored three tries on the day with Sharks wing Makazole Mapimpi and Stormers scrumhalf Herschel Jantjies both scoring two tries.
In the end, it was only a conversion that separated the two teams.
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After sustained pressure inside the Stormers’ 22 the Sharks thought they had opened the scoring in the 16th minute when wing Sibusiso Nkosi crashed over the tryline after receiving the ball on the blindside from the scrum.
However, after a few replays, the TMO decided that Nkosi lost control of the ball before he grounded it.
Instead, it was the Stormers who got the first points of the game in the 26th minute when scrumhalf Jantjies was given acres of space to run in for a try after maul inside the Sharks’ 22.
Damian Willemse added the extra two points with the conversion for a 7-0 lead.
The Sharks finally got on the board in the 32nd minute after some sensational play from their backline.
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After a quick tap was taken in their own half from a penalty, the ball was spread wide to Lukhanyo Am who kicked the ball over the Stormers’ backline. The ball was then it was collected by Mapimpi, who raced over in the corner for a try.
At half-time it was 7-5 in favour of the Stormers.
The Sharks took the lead in the 49th minute when Mapimpi ran in for his second try of the game after some great running and handling from his teammates in the backline. Curwin Bosch was successful with the conversion to give his team a five-point lead.
However, their lead did not last long after Jantjies intercepted a Louis Schreuder pass to sprint in for his second try of the match. Willemse added the extras and the Stormers were in front by two points.
Jean-Luc du Plessis made it a nine-point lead with the conversion.
There were 11 tries scored in the match with the Bulls outscoring their opponents by six tries to five during the 80 minutes.
The Lions got on the board in the eighth minute when the ball was spread wide from a scrum to centre Dan Kriel who ran straight through the Bulls’ defence for an easy try.
Captain Elton Jantjies added the two points with the conversion.
The Bulls hit back in the 14th minute with Abongile Nonkontwana crossing the Lions’ tryline after a powerful driving maul.
Morne Steyn made no mistake with the conversion to level the scores.
However, the Lions regained the lead in the 23rd minute after Duncan Matthews intercepted Ivan van Zyl’s pass before racing away for a try, which was converted by Jantjies.
The Bulls were then given an advantage when Lions hooker Pieter Jansen received a yellow card for some cynical play at a ruck.
Instead, it was the Lions who added to their tally with Matthews scoring his second try after some enterprising play from the Johannesburg team out wide.
A few minutes later the Bulls were back in it with Johnny Kotze going over the whitewash in the 37th minute after some excellent passing in the Lions’ 22.
Steyn added the two points and at half-time it was 21-14 to the Lions.
The scores were level two minutes into the second half after Manie Libbok pounced on a loose ball in the Lions’ 22 before sprinting in for an easy converted try.
The Bulls found themselves in front in the 49th minute after some more sloppy play by the Lions in their 22 resulted in a loose ball being picked up by the Bulls. The ball was spread wide to Rossouw, who ran in for a score.
The Lions needed to be the next to score and they did just that when Courtnall Skosan collected pin-point kick from Elton Jantjies in the Bulls’ in-goal area to score a fantastic try in the 56th minute.
Jantjies gave the Lions a two-point lead with the conversion.
That lead was extended in the 60th minute when Morné van der Berg evaded several defenders to power his way to the tryline for Lions’ fifth try.
Another Rossouw try brought the Bulls closer before the Pretoria team took the lead with just three minutes left on clock when Cornal Hendricks picked up the ball from a loose pass to dive over for a try, which Chris Smith converted.
That was enough for the Bulls to secure the win.
Stormers 21 (Tries to Herschel Jantjies 2, Godlen Masimla; 2 conversions to Damian Willemse, conversion to Jean-Luc du Plessis) defeated Sharks 19 (Tries to Makazole Mapimpi 2, Marius Louw; conversion to Curwin Bosch, conversion to Boeta Chamberlain)
Bulls 40 (Tries to Abongile Nonkontwana, Johnny Kotze, Manne Libbok, Divan Rossouw (2), Cornal Hendricks; 2 conversions to Morne Steyn, 3 conversion for Chris Smith) defeated Lions 35 (Tries to Dan Kriel, Duncan Matthews (2), Courtnall Skosan, Morne van der Berg; 5 conversions to Elton Jantjies)
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