British & Irish Lions stumble past The Cheetahs
The British & Irish Lions very nearly slumped to a shock defeat for the second weekend in the row as they were forced to endure a stirring fightback from The Cheetahs on Saturday before eventually prevailing 26-24 in Bloemfontein.
The tourists had raced into a 20-0 lead in the first half after converted tries from Ireland duo Stephen Ferris and Keith Earls, and two penalties from the boot of James Hook.
However, the sin-binning of Ferris midway through the first half offered The Cheetahs a route back into the game and they took it, with Danwel Demas crossing whilst the Ulster flanker was off the field.
Moments later, Wian du Preez charged his way over and there were just six points between the sides as half time approached.
However, Hook slotted over a penalty just before the interval and his flawless-goal kicking kept the Cheetahs at bay until just under eight minutes to go when Shane Williams passed straight to Corne Uys, who raced 80 meters to score.
The Lions, now just two points ahead, tried to play possession rugby but kept turning the ball over and The Cheetahs would have deservedly won the game had Louis Strydom’s 79th-minute drop goal attempt not drifted just to the left of the posts.
The midweek side had thrown down the gauntlet to their Saturday counterparts with a stunning 74-10 demolition of another Super 14 side in the form of The Golden Lions on Wednesday night. That performance had only intensified the pressure on the Saturday side to produce a big performance in Bloemfontein.
The early signs were hardly encouraging. The Lions opened the scoring with a confidently-struck penalty from Hook but Potgieter missed an immediate chance to draw the home side level by dragging a 42-metre kick from the left-hand side narrowly wide of the posts.
However, The Lions needed a break to settle them and one promptly came their way seven minutes in, the ball squirming out of the side of a Cheetahs ruck and into the path of the ever-alert Ferris. The Ireland flanker had provided a demonstration of his freakish pace in Wednesday’s win in Johannesburg with his 70-metre intercept try and with just half that distance to cover this time around and nothing but open space in front of him, he was never going to be caught.
Their confidence now restored, The Lions created a superb second try for themselves five minutes later.
O’Callaghan, who was impressive in the air all afternoon, produced a clean take at the line-out and the ball was swiftly worked into the hands of Hook, who delicately lofted the ball infield and into the grateful arms of Keith Earls. After his Rustenburg woes, this was the opportunity that the young Munsterman would have been hoping for all week and he took it with aplomb, cruising past two men on his way to his first ever try for The Lions.
Hook converted both scores and then added another penalty to put twenty points between the side. It was all looking good for the tourists.
However, the sin-binning of Stephen Ferris, for not rolling away after bringing a half to de Bruyn’s incisive run into the heart of The Lions defense, changed everything.
- An open letter in strong defence of capitalism.
- Sarah Palin is saving Christmas
- Racist incidents in Ireland up by 85 percent...
- Gay teacher fired from Catholic school after...
- Virginia governor slammed by doctor over...
- Irish drugs mule to escape full trial and...
- Nelson Mandela was against IRA decommissioning.
- Top Christmas Irish ads that will be bring...
- Irish radio presenter suspended after anti-Isra
- Hollywood star Gabriel Byrne brands new Pope...