10 May 2015

Highlanders downed by Lions fightback

10:33 am on 10 May 2015

The South African side the Lions staged a remarkable second-half comeback to defeat the Highlanders 28-23 in their Super Rugby clash in Johannesburg this morning.

Andries Coetzee of the Lions tackled by Patrick Osborne of the Highlanders.

Andries Coetzee of the Lions tackled by Patrick Osborne of the Highlanders. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The home side trailed 20-3 at half-time but roared into the lead within 20 minutes of the restart as wing Courtnall Skosan, flanker Jaco Kriel and centre Harold Vorster crossed for tries.

Replacement first-five Elton Jantjies converted two of those and added two penalties to keep the Lions' playoff chances alive in this year's competition.

Marnitz Boshoff had scored the home side's only points of the first half with a seventh-minute penalty to put them ahead.

The Highlanders first-five Lima Sopoaga then levelled also with a penalty after 23 minutes before adding a drop-goal and converting the tries of flanker Gareth Evans and centre Malakai Fekitoa in the final six minutes of the first half.

It was a complete turnaround after the break as the Lions took control and limited the visitors to a Ben Smith drop goal as they surged to a remarkable victory.

The Lions are in 8th place overall on 31 points while the Highlanders claimed a bonus point in the loss and are fourth overall, level on 34 points with the 3rd placed Stormers and fifth placed Bulls.

Also this morning the ACT Brumbies first-five missed a simple conversion from in front of the posts to gift South Africa's Stormers a tense 25-24 victory in Cape Town.

After flanker David Pocock had cantered in to score a try that brought the Brumbies to within a point of their hosts with 10 minutes remaining, it seemed a formality the usually reliable Leali'ifano would put his side in front.

Instead he struck the outside of the post, a costly miss after which the Stormers held on for the win that moves them level with the Bulls on 34 points at the top of the South African conference, though they have played a game more.

The Brumbies lead the Australian conference with 33 points though they sit 6th in the overall points standings.

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