2019 Lions Super Rugby Preview
January 26, 2019 - The Bulls and the Lions met in a pre-season warm-up match on the B-field at Loftus in Pretoria on Saturday. The match kicked off at 3pm and was played in searing heat with the temperature at 38 degrees.
The Bulls started stronger than the Lions and also dominated in the scrums, and they managed to pin the Lions in their own 22 in the opening quarter, scoring the first two tries to go into a 14-0 lead.
Rosco Specman then picked up a ball knocked-on by the Lions in the Bulls half and beat a couple of weak tackles to run in a long-range try to put the Bulls up 21-0.
Discipline then let the Bulls down and they gave the Lions momentum when they conceded a number of penalties in a row, and eventually Louritz van der Schyff, who looked impressive when he came on as a replacement at Inside Centre, brushed off the tackle of Libbok and put Scrumhalf Morne van der Berg over for the Lions' first try.
The Bulls conceded another penalty deep in the Lions territory, which the Lions quickly tapped and shifted the ball left, where Stean Pienaar found himself in open space and ran in the 2nd Lions try to make the score at the break 21-10 for the Bulls.
In the second half the two teams seemed to match each other better, and it was fairly late in the 2nd half that James Venter scored for the Lions under the posts, with Cilliers kicking the conversion to make the final score 21-17 for the Bulls.
Mahuza and Van der Schyff left the field with injuries, and hopefully it's not serious as both looked good for the Lions. When Mahuza left the field, Simelane moved to Fullback and had quite a few impressive runs with the added space that this brings.
After the match, coach Swys de Bruin said that he would probably only be able to take 5 players that were in action on Saturday to the warm-up match next Sunday in Cape Town against the Sharks, where the other 23 players that didn't play today will be in action.
Bulls: 15. Earll Dowrie, 14. Cornal Hendricks, 13. Franco Naude, 12. JT Jackson, 11. Rosko Specman, 10. Manie Libbok, 9. Marco Jansen van Vuren, 8. Muller Uys, 7. Thembelani Bholi, 6. Ruan Steenkamp, 5. Eli Snyman, 4. Ruan Nortje, 3. Dayan van der Westhuizen, 2. Corniel Els, 1. Simphiwe Matanzima
Replacements: 16. Johan Grobbelaar, 17. Matthys Basson, 18. Conrad van Vuuren, 19. Tim Agaba, 20. Nic de Jager, 21. Ivan van Zyl, 22. Tinus de Beer, 23. Jay-Cee Nel, 24. Jade Stighling, 25. Divan Rossouw.
Lions: 15. Sylvian Mahuza (Capt), 14. Madosh Tambwe, 13. Manuel Rass, 12. Tyrone Green, 11. Wandisile Simelane, 10. Gianni Lombard, 9. Morne van der Berg, 8. Darrien-Lane Landsberg, 7. Vincent Tshituka, 6. MJ Pelser, 5. Rhyno Herbst, 4. Ruan Vermaak, 3. Asenathi Ntlabakanye, 2. Jan-Henning Champher, 1. Nathan Mcbeth.
Replacements: 16. Pieter Jansen, 17. Danie Minnie, 18. Frans van Wyk, 19. PJ Steenkamp, 20. Roelof Smith, 21. James Venter, 22. Jo-Hanko de Villiers, 23. Dian Schoonees, 24. Bradley Thain, 25. Eddie Fouche, 26. Louritz van der Schyff, 27. Jan-Louis la Grange, 28. Stean Pienaar, 29. Jeanluc Cilliers.
Bulls: 21 (21): Tries: Naude, Jackson, Specman. Conversions: Libbok (3)
Lions: 17 (10): Tries: Van der Berg, Pienaar, Venter. Conversions: Cilliers (1)