Lions pip Waratahs thanks to sub Reynolds

Lions pip Waratahs thanks to sub Reynolds

The Waratahs led the Lions four times in Johannesburg Saturday only to finish 29-28 losers in a tense, error-filled Super Rugby round 13 match.

Lions vs Waratahs
Photo: AFP The Emirates Lions' Warren Whiteley runs with the ball during the Super Rugby match, Lions v Waratahs at the Emirates Airline Park, Johannesburg, on May 11, 2019.

Each side scored four tries at Ellis Park before the outcome was decided by a 68th-minute penalty from substitute fly-half Shaun Reynolds.

Reynolds and scrum-half Nic Groom had replaced Elton Jantjies and Ross Cronje to give the Lions a new half-back partnership entering the final quarter. 
A sixth victory this season lifted the Lions to eighth in the combined table while the Waratahs lie 13th with just four victories from 11 outings.  
The uncertainty of the outcome between teams who have underperformed this season - neither led by more than seven points - kept the small crowd in the 62,000-seat venue entertained.
But purists would not have enjoyed the number of handling errors by both teams as they pursued ball-in-hand approaches in pursuit of precious points.
Lions hooker and man-of-the-match Malcolm Marx blamed "rust" for the far-from-perfect performance from a franchise that have finished runners-up in the last three editions.
"We were rusty after having a bye last weekend and that was a factor in our display," admitted the Springbok.
 "There were too many unforced errors.
"A positive was keeping the Waratahs deep in their half during the closing stages. There were several scoring opportunities for us but, unfortunately, we did not take any."
Fit-again Lions skipper and No 8 Warren Whiteley emphasised how important victory was in relation to the South African conference, with its winners guaranteed a home quarter-final.
"Winning this match was crucial with only five points separating the top and bottom teams. I am proud of the way we were able to grind out a victory. 
"It was a tit-for-tat tussle in which the Waratahs kept pulling ahead and we repeatedly fought back. Our excellent scrumming won us some penalties." 

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