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Rugby | Vodacom Super Rugby

Dyantyi stars again for Lions

The diamond that is Aphiwe Dyantyi continued to shine brightly as the wing helped galvanise an initially struggling Emirates Lions unit to a comfortable 47-27 Vodacom Super Rugby win over the Jaguares in Johannesburg on Saturday.

Dyantyi hadn’t played Super Rugby before last week’s opening game against the Cell C Sharks but his fledgling career is gathering momentum almost as quickly as he runs.

Dyantyi scored two tries, could easily have scored another and was generally a constant thorn to the Jaguares defenders as the Lions shook off their early lethargy to eventually overwhelm their opponents.

In scoring seven tries to three the Lions picked up the try-scoring bonus point and with the Stormers having lost early in the day, the Johannesburg team finished the weekend in what has now become their customary comfortable position at the top of the South African conference.

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They might have been worried a bit about the eventual outcome though in the early stages of the game, when the Jaguares started strongly but the Lions were also their own worst enemies.

The scrums were a mess for most of the game, or at least until the Lions took proper control just before halftime, but the real Lions enemy in the first half was lack of patience and a tendency to try and force play too much.

That old cliché about having to build an innings before trying to hit the sixes does have a place in rugby and the Lions learnt that to their cost in the first half, where they simply spilt too much ball and coupled that with some poor decision making.

They were 10-0 down at one stage, with Emiliano Boffelli going over on the wing after a confident, quick passing movement off an attacking lineout in just the third minute.

That was after the field position had been set up for the Jaguares by a second-minute penalty.

Boffelli kicked the long-range penalty in the 17th minute that put some space between them and the hosts on the scoreboard and at that stage the Jaguares, who were playing assured rugby, were styling.

It was though more a case of the Lions being their own worst enemies, and once they started to show some patience, and held onto the ball, so the cracks began to show in the South American team.

A quick-tap penalty taken by Ross Cronje set up Dyantyi’s first try, with a skip pass from Harold Vorster putting him in.

Elton Jantjies, who was nervy in the first quarter but started to become more assured once his forwards were comfortably on the front foot, was unable to kick the conversion, but a conversion wasn’t needed for the next try because it was a penalty try.

If it were not for the fact that by that stage the Lions were starting to slip into gear the Jaguares might well regard the penalty try awarded by Jaco Peyper as the turning point in the game.


Certainly there was enough room for debate on the televised evidence viewers saw over whether the Lions would have beaten the Jaguares cover defenders when wing Bautista Delguy was carded in the 32nd minute for knocking down an attempted pass from Lions captain Warren Whiteley.

Considering though that Dyantyi was to be the recipient, and he was the quickest player on the field and had an open channel in front of him with 20 metres to run, Peyper could feel within his rights for adjudging that it would have been a try.

It did not please the Jaguares though and they gave Peyper quite a bit of lip as they headed back to halfway for the restart.

There was no denying though that Delguy was in the wrong and the Lions capitalised on his absence by sending Andries Coetzee in off a wonderful little backflip pass from Lionel Mapoe in the 37th minute to put them into a 19-10 lead at halftime.

In the second half the Lions showed they had internalised everything their coaches had told them at the break.

They exhibited far more patience, while it helped that by then they had a dominant scrum.

Their first try of the half was a real gem, with Dyanti playing a bit part by inserting himself in the line off a long-range set phase attack that sent Sylvia Mahuza, the other wing, in at his corner on the right.

A Nicholas Sanchez penalty halted the Lions’ surge but only briefly.

The 50th minute of the game was the opportunity for Dyantyi to really shine, with the wing being fed the ball from a turnover deep inside his own half before he set off on a blistering long run.

He easily wrong footed those defenders who came near him before, with one defender to beat, he slowed momentarily before stepping to his left before igniting to his right and going over between the posts.

By now the Lions’ patience and assurance had graduated their phase play to excellent and it was that aspect of their game that created the opportunity for Rohan Janse van Rensburg, on as a replacement, to power his way over for try No 6.

The last try was scored near the end by Warren Whiteley, who was back to his best and popped up more frequently in the wide channels than he did against the Sharks the previous week.

It was a needed score though for a two-try burst by Delguy had momentarily threatened the Lions’ try-scoring bonus point and, with the lead cut to 13 points, even their win if the Argentinians had scored again.

Overall it was a great result for the Lions who were very good once they got going and who by the end had several players running into ominous form ahead of their big derby match against the Vodacom Bulls next week.


Emirates Lions 47 – Tries: Aphiwe Dyantyi 2, Andries Coetzee, Sylvian Mahuza, Rohan Janse van Rensburg and Warren Whiteley; Penalty try; Conversions: Elton Jantjies 5.

Jaguares 27 – Tries: Emiliano Boffelli and Bautista Delguy 2; Conversions: Nicholas Sanchez 3; Penalties: Nicholas Sanchez and Emiliano Boffelli.


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