Fifty minutes of some of the best rugby seen in years at Emirates Airline Park were enough for the Emirates Lions, playing with a relatively inexperienced team, to get their Vodacom Super Rugby campaign back on track.
The men from Johannesburg let in a few tries towards the end of their match against the visiting Jaguares from Argentina, but they still did enough in the opening 50 minutes of the match to win comfortably by 47-39.
Unfortunately for the Emirates Lions, the flurry of late tries by the visitors cost them a try-scoring bonus point. The Jaguares scored six tries – four of them in the last 15 minutes – compared to the seven by the Vodacom Super Rugby runners up from the last three seasons.
The result was effectively in the bag for the Emirates Lions at the break. The home team scored four tries in the first half to lead by 26-13. They added three more shortly after the break to put the match away, but slipped up on defence at the end.
Rhyno Herbst, Elton Jantjies, Kwagga Smith and former Junior Bok star Wandisile Simelane crossed the chalk in the first half, while Marnus Schoeman and Courtnall Skosan (two) added to the tally shortly after the break.
A full-house of five points might have been better received in Johannesburg, but a good victory (after two defeats) and with seven tries to boot, is not to be sniggered at.
Elton Jantjies contributed 17 points to the Highvelders’ victory to became only the fifth player in tournament history to surpass the 1 000 points mark.
Emirates Lions 47 (26) – Tries: Rhyno Herbst, Elton Jantjies, Kwagga Smith and former Junior Bok star Wandisile Simelane, Marnus Schoeman, Courtnall Skosan (2). Conversions: Jantjies (6).
Jaguares 39 (13) – Tries: Ramiro Moyano, Julian Montoya (2), Gaspar Baldunciel, Matias Moroni, Joaquín Tuculet. Conversions: Joaquin Diaz Bonilla, Juan Cruz Mallia (2). Penalty goal: Diaz Bonilla.