Lions get De Bruin off to winning start

By Peter Thompson 18 February 2018 130
Lions get De Bruin off to winning start

The Lions started Swys de Bruin's first Super Rugby season as head coach with a 26-19 victory over the Sharks after the Stormers held off a fightback from Jaguares on Saturday.

De Bruin stepped up from his role as assistant following Johan Ackermann's move to Gloucester and watched his side come out on top in a great battle at Ellis Park.

Lionel Mapoe and Aphiwe Dyantyi went over in the first half after Robert du Preez scored a try which he converted to give Sharks the early advantage.

Sbu Nkosi's try just after the interval reduced the deficit to only two points, but Mapoe helped himself to a double and Kwagga Smith added a fourth Lions try following Makazole Mapimpi's five-pointer for the visitors.

Lions, led by fit-again captain Warren Whiteley, saw it out, Elton Jantjies not having the best of days from the tee, but landing three conversions for the 2016 and 2017 runners-up.

Stormers also began their campaign with a victory, seeing off Jaguares 28-20 in the heat at Newlands.

Tries from Damian de Allende, Siya Kolisi and debutant Raymond Rhule gave the Cape Town franchise a 22-6 lead early in the second half.

Jaguares made a good fist of it, Emiliano Boffelli dotting down before a penalty try cut the gap to only five points, but they were denied a losing bonus point by Damian Willemse's third penalty right at the end.

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