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Lions 20 (15) vs Crusaders 32 (17)

Lions beaten by Crusaders

Crusaders win to stay in hunt for semi-finals

The Lions played a gutsy game on Friday, but the Crusaders just did enough to take the match 32-20 and to get the five bonus points they needed from the game. The Crusaders scored four tries to the three from the Lions.

The Lions did most of the playing in the opening minutes, but then let themselves down in the 10th minute when some poor defense by Deon van Rensburg on his wing resulted in a try by Isaac Ross, who received the final pass from Jared Payne after he beat Van Rensburg to fall over for the try. MacDonald converted to make it 7-0 for the Crusaders.

The Lions hit back just 5 minutes later, Andre Pretorius kicked a loose ball dropped by the Crusaders ahead and picked it up on the Crusaders 22 meter line, and passed to Ludik, who quickly passed to Vermaak on the outside, who was quick enough to beat a defender and dive over for a try in the right corner. Pretorius converted to make it 7-7.

Johan van Deventer then scored a magical try on debut, he received the ball just on the Crusaders 10 meter line in space on the right, but with a few defenders in front of him. He started stepping and managed to sneak through the tackles to score a brilliant try. Pretorius missed the conversion to make it 12-7 for the Lions.

Stephen Brett then charged down an attempted clearance by Louis Ludik from his 22, the ball bounced kindly for Brett who picked it up and scored an easy try. MacDonald converted to put the Crusaders back in a 14-12 lead.

MacDonald extended the lead for the Crusaders to 17-12 with a penalty just outside the Lions 22 meter area with 8 minutes left in the first half.

Just three minutes later the Crusaders went offside inside their 22, and Pretorius kicked the penalty to make it 17-15 for the Crusaders.

Just before the hooter the Crusaders had an opportunity to go further ahead, but MacDonald missed a penalty attempt to the right, so the score at the break was 17-15 for the Crusaders.

In the second half the Crusaders missed another try-scoring opportunity early on when they had a huge overlap on the left and close to the Lions try-line, but the pass to Thorn failed to find him and rolled out.

In the 23rd minute the luck of the Lions eventually ran out, this after sustained pressure from the Crusaders, Brad Thorne picked up a loose ball inside the 22 meter area and ran straight through the Lions defenders for a try under the poles. MacDonald converted to make it 24-15 for the Crusaders.

The Lions hit right back, Anton van Zyl pounced on a loose ball on the halfway line, and quickly kicked it behind the defenders into the Crusaders 22, where the ball was rolling next to the touch line, Van Zyl chased it and got there first, picked it up and scored the try.

Again the Crusaders had an immediate answer, they had a line-out close to the Lions try-line, where the ball went quickly to the replacement hooker on the blind side, and he beat the tackle of Muller to score the 4th try for the Crusaders. The conversion missed, but the Crusaders now in a 29-20 lead.

The Crusaders then piled on the pressure again, forcing the Lions to go offside and concede a penalty, which MacDonald kicked to make it 32-20 for the Crusaders, also the final score.

The scorers:

For the Lions:
 Jano Vermaak, Johan van Deventer, Anton van Zyl
Cons: Andre Pretorius
Pens: Andre Pretorius

For the Crusaders:
 Isaac Ross, Stephen Brett, Brad Thorne, Dan Perrin
Cons: Leon MacDonald(3)
Pens: Leon MacDonald(2)

Yellow card: None 
Red card: None 

Lions: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Jaque Fourie(c), 12 Doppies la Grange, 11 Jannie Boshoff,, 10 Andre Pretorius, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Willem Alberts, 7 Ernst Joubert, 6 Johan van Deventer, 5 Anton van Zyl, 4 Jannes Labuschagne, 3 Lawrence Sephaka, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Hans van Dyk, 17 Gert Muller, 18 Gerhard Mostert, 19 Robert Kruger, 20 Chris Jonck, 21 Earl Rose, 22 Michael Killian.

Crusaders: 15 Leon MacDonald, 14 Jared Payne, 13 Tim Bateman, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Colin Slade, 10 Stephen Brett, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Jonathan Poff, 6 Kieran Read(c), 5 Isaac Ross, 4 Brad Thorn, Owen Franks, 2 Jason MacDonald, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Dan Perrin, 17 Bronson Murray, 18 Ross Filipo, 19 Michael Paterson, 20 Kahn Fotuali'i, 21 Adam Whitelock, 22 Hamish Gard.

Referee: Jonathan Kaplan
Touch judges: Willie Roos and Cobus Wessels
TV Match Official: Johann Meuwesen

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