Su­perRugby sparkles with stun­ning play by the debu­tants

CityPress - - Sport -

There was some scin­til­lat­ing rugby as the new Su­perRugby league kicked off this week­end.

In one of the ear­lier matches, South African side, the Lions won their first out­ing of the sea­son 26-13 but were made to work ex­tremely hard by a plucky Sun­wolves side in Tokyo.

Af­ter a fre­netic start to the match, in which both teams gave the ball air in the open­ing five min­utes, Sun­wolves fly­half Tusi Pisi opened the scor­ing with a penalty to give the Ja­panese side the lead.

The Lions quickly moved into gear, putting the Sun­wolves un­der im­mense pres­sure, but El­ton Jan­tjies could not take ad­van­tage and missed two penalty at­tempts at goal.

It took un­til the 20th minute for the Lions to fi­nally open their ac­count with an un­con­verted try by hooker Rob­bie Coetzee af­ter a strong driv­ing maul.

They ex­tended their lead in the 34th minute with a con­verted try by winger Court­nall Skosan who ghosted over af­ter a bril­liant in­side pass by Jan­tjies gave him acres of space.

Pisi added a fur­ther penalty for the Sun­wolves just be­fore half-time and the teams went into the break with the Lions lead­ing 12-6.

In the se­cond half, the Sun­wolves con­tin­ued to force the Lions to work ex­tremely hard for points.

The vis­i­tors con­verted tries through Jaco Kriel and Lionel Mapoe while the Sun­wolves sent the home crowd into rap­tures with their first try in Su­per Rugby scored through cap­tain and hooker, Shota Horie.

By scor­ing three tries more than their op­po­nents, the Lions se­cured a valu­able bonus point.

In an­other match, the Chiefs outscored the Cru­saders four tries to two to claim a de­served 27-21 vic­tory in Christchurch on Fri­day. As has be­come cus­tom­ary be­tween two New Zealand sides, there was plenty of thrilling ac­tion through­out and the match was evenly poised un­til the Chiefs se­cured vic­tory with a late Sam Cane try.

Damian McKen­zie was the Chiefs’ hero, con­tribut­ing 12 points via a try, two con­ver­sions and a long-range penalty from the half­way mark.

New fly­half Richie Mo’unga im­pressed for the Cru­saders and scored a try, con­ver­sion and three penal­ties to fin­ish the match with a 16-point haul.

The open­ing half-hour was a scrappy af­fair as both sides tried to gain the as­cen­dancy. Mo’unga opened the scor­ing for the Cru­saders from the kick­ing tee as early as the first minute af­ter the Chiefs were pe­nalised at a scrum.

The next points came 20 min­utes later when Mo’unga added an­other three-poin­ter from the kick­ing tee be­fore McKen­zie opened the Chiefs’ ac­count with his penalty from 50 me­tres out.

Shortly af­ter­wards, the Chiefs took the lead when Scott Steven­son ripped the ball from the grasp of David Hav­ili in­side the Cru­saders’ 22 be­fore cross­ing for the open­ing try.

The Jaguares emerged 34-33 win­ners against the Chee­tahs in what was a highly en­ter­tain­ing Su­per Rugby clash in Bloem­fontein on Fri­day night.

The Chee­tahs scored four tries in the first half to the Jaguares’ two and at one stage had a 24-3 lead, but in the end it was the men from Ar­gentina and their fly­half Ni­co­las Sanchez who got over the line.

Ill-dis­ci­pline had cost the Su­per Rugby debu­tants in the open­ing pe­riod, and at one stage they were down to 13 men.

But when their num­bers were re­stored the Jaguares be­came a far more dan­ger­ous out­fit, and by half-time they had clawed their way back to 17-24 as the Chee­tahs be­gan to run out of steam.

The hosts could not score a try in the se­cond half, while the Jaguares scored two more as they be­gan their Su­per Rugby ven­ture with a vic­tory. – Sport24 Other re­sults: 1.

PHOTO: KEN ISHII / GETTY IM­AGES

DIVE Haru­michi Tatekawa of the Sun­wolves is tack­led dur­ing the Su­per Rugby Round 1 match against the Lions at the Prince Chichibu Sta­dium yes­ter­day in Tokyo

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