The Emirates Lions fought gallantly, but in the end the Brumbies were too good and secured a 31-20 Vodacom Super Rugby victory in Canberra on Saturday.
It wasn’t the start to their Australasian tour the team from Johannesburg would have hoped for, and they now have to regroup for their remaining two tour matches in New Zealand against the Chiefs and the Crusaders.
While the Emirates Lions created enough scoring opportunities, their high error-rate would have been a big concern for the Highvelders’ coaching team, especially as they leaked 42 points against the Cell C Sharks at home last weekend.
Springbok speedster Aphiwe Dyantyi, restored to his usual spot on the wing after his cameo in the midfield last week, scored an early try for the visitors after Tom Wright was yellow carded for a tip-tackle on Malcolm Marx. The Brumbies speedily hit back with three tries of their own to take a 19-8 lead at the break.
Brumbies No 8 Lachlan McCaffrey burst over the line for their first try and he was followed by Toni Pulu and Tevita Kuridrani over the whitewash.
Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies scored a converted try 10 minutes into the second half, but just as it looked like the Emirates Lions were playing themselves back into the match, Tom Banks and Wright scored two quick tries as the hosts pulled away to stretch their lead to a comfortable 31-15 margin. Sylvian Mahuza scored a consolation try for the Highvelders.
Brumbies 31 (19) – Tries: Lachlan McCaffrey, Toni Pulu, Tevita Kuridrani, Tom Banks, Tom Wright. Conversions: Christian Lealiifano (3).
Emirates Lions 20 (8) – Tries: Aphiwe Dyantyi, Elton Jantjies, Sylvian Mahuza. Conversion: Jantjies. Penalty goal: Jantjies.
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Late tries in Bloemfontein, Johannesburg and Pretoria all determined the final outcomes of the SA Rugby Under-21 Provincial Championship matches played this weekend, again highlighting the competitive nature of this year’s competition.
Springbok wing Aphiwe Dyantyi has returned to the Xerox Golden Lions in Johannesburg where he will undergo rehabilitation for a hamstring injury, the Springbok management has announced on Monday.
UCT Rugby Club is travelling to Japan in September to play in an invitational World University Rugby Cup hosted by Waseda University – a curtain raiser to the Rugby World Cup.
The SA Schools and SA Schools A squads – featuring four returning players from 2018 – to contest the U18 International Series against their age-group counterparts from Argentina, England, France, Wales in August were announced by SA Rugby on Monday.
Springbok assistant coach Matt Proudfoot was pleased with the game time and performance of Lood de Jager, who played just over 50 minutes for the Vodacom Blue Bulls in this weekend’s Currie Cup opening round.
The Jaguares XV jumped to the top of the Currie Cup First Division log after securing a second win in as many weeks, while defending champions, SWD, scored their first win with a solid display in George. The Valke and Down Touch Griffons also won their first matches.
Former Springbok wing James Small, a member of the 1995 Rugby World Cup winning squad, has died suddenly from a heart attack at the age of 50 on Wednesday.
The DHL Western Province pack delivered a massive scrumming performance that crushed the Vodacom Blue Bulls’ chances in a hard-fought Currie Cup encounter, won 20-5 by the Capetonians at DHL Newlands on Saturday.
The Xerox Golden Lions’ speedy wing Madosh Tambwe scored four tries as the Gautengers got their Currie Cup campaign off to a winning start over the Phakisa Pumas in Johannesburg on Saturday, but the home team had to dig deep for the 38-37 victory.
The mascots of the seven Currie Cup Premier Division teams had a bit of fun with the help of Early B and his song, "Leka Djy"!