Sport

Sensational Lions through to #SuperRugby final!

Sensational Lions through to #SuperRugby final!”

The Lions went on a second-half rampage to defeat the defending champions 44-29, and win the right to host next week's Super Rugby final against the Crusaders.

The Hurricanes have set records for the numbers of points and tries they have scored this season but said they would play a more conservative style Saturday.

The Hurricanes have wilted in the Johannesburg sun, squandering a 22-3 lead to lose 44-29 to the Lions and force the Crusaders to travel to South Africa for the Super Rugby final.

The dramatic, breathless semi-final only served as a sharp reminder of just how increasingly tough a nut the Lions are to crack at Emirates Airline Park, the same turf on which Francois Pienaar and company nominally won a virgin southern hemisphere first-class competition of the amateur era, the Super 10, in 1993 by pipping Auckland 20-17 in the showpiece.

Just by winning those memorable 40 minutes 34-7 in scoreboard terms, they sent out an automatic message to the Crusaders of how hard they will be to subdue in the final, when they will surely also redouble their efforts to produce a more complete performance.

"This team has character and I'm really proud of them", Lions captain Jaco Kriel said.

The Lions were totally dominant in the second half.

Jordie Barrett missed a kick that would have levelled the score and two further home tries put the game to bed - Jantjies and Kwagga Smith rounding off a stunning afternoon for the Lions.

Hurricanes skipper and hooker Dane Coles, making his 100th Super Rugby appearance, admitted that the Lions were impossible to stop in the second half.

Hurricanes built the 22-10 half-time advantage through clinical punishment of wayward passes as the Lions committed unforced errors under pressure.

They were nearly absurdly wild, woolly, error-prone and extravagant in their own territory during much of the first period against the 'Canes ... just about the last opponents you want to run that risk against, really.

All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick scored a late consolation try for the Chiefs, who had another try contentiously disallowed by the television match official at a crucial stage of the first half.

Against expectations, the Chiefs made most of the play in the first half, forcing the Crusaders into constant defence during which they had to make four times as many tackles as their opponents.

The match's most contentious moment came soon after when Samoa winger Tim Nanai-Williams seemed to score for the Chiefs.

Fullback Damian McKenzie was lining up the conversion when the television referee called a halt and instructed Jackson to disallow the try because Nanai-Williams had knocked on in the act of scoring. "You can tell they've got great belief in their team and they never gave up", Coles said after the match.

"Looking at their pack, they've got 10 All Blacks who will strip this weekend so they've got incredible depth and it's a great weapon for them", Chiefs coach Dave Rennie said.



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