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Emirates Lions Boost Play-Off Bid By Beating Vodacom Bulls

  • 3 min read

The Emirates Lions produced a shock 29-25 derby victory over the Vodacom Bulls in the Vodacom United Rugby Championship.

Scrum-half Sanele Nohamba scored 24 points – a try, five penalties and two conversions – as the Lions, who started the weekend in 12th spot, upset the sixth-placed Bulls at Loftus Versfeld.

The victory ended a run of 10 successive defeats for the Lions against South African teams.

Morne Steyn and Nohamba exchanged early penalties in Pretoria before the Lions hit the front with a superb score.

The Bulls were punished for a poor kick as the visitors produced some wonderful angled running, with Quan Horn drawing the last defender expertly for Edwill van der Merwe to sprint over.

Nohamba converted and added a penalty before he showed quick thinking after a Lions team-mate was taken off his feet.

Bulls players were guilty of turning their back on Nohamba, who took a tap penalty from the mark and burst through for a score that he converted for a 20-3 lead after 25 minutes.

That provoked a string response from the Bulls as Steyn and Cornal Hendricks combined to set up full-back Wandisile Simelane for a try.

But Nohamba landed his third penalty seven minutes before the break.

The Bulls charged back again and Embrose Papier had a try ruled out for a forward pass.

Home forward power allowed Steyn to deliver a cross-kick that Sbu Nkosi touched down and the Bulls trailed 23-13 at half-time.

The gap was cut to five points in bizarre fashion eight minutes after the restart.

A grubber kick from Simelane was being shepherded out by Van der Merwe until Sibongile Novuka got a foot to the ball just before it crossed the touchline.

Simelane fell on the loose ball and was adjudged to be just behind Novuka, so the try stood.

Electing to turn down a simple three points, the Bulls went for the corner and a line-out drive secured their fourth try – and bonus point – for hooker Johan Grobbelaar.

Steyn’s conversion put the Bulls ahead but it was a short-lived lead as Nohamba dispatched two more penalties.

A see-saw contest got the finish it deserved as the Bulls went the length of the field in the final seconds.

But desperate Lions defence saw them through to an historic victory.

Vodacom player of the match

Lions scrum-half Nohamba is loving life in Johannesburg after his move from the Sharks and showed his class again.

Nohamba scampered over from a quickly-taken penalty in the first half and was flawless off the kicking tee for a 24-point haul.

Vodacom play of the match

The Bulls were opened up after 12 minutes by a stunning Lions move. The ball was moved from right to left for Horn to draw in the last defender and van der Merwe scorched over to go under the posts.