Cape Town — The Lions held on to claim a vital Super Rugby victory over the Chiefs in Hamilton on Friday.
As it happened: Chiefs v Lions
The Lions won 23-17 , after leading 20-0 at half-time.
The hosts fought back hard in the second half but a late drop goal from Elton Jantjies sealed the win for the men from Johannesburg.
The Lions started the match without coach Swys de Bruin who flew home due to personal reasons, but they welcomed the return of captain Warren Whiteley, while Malcolm Marx and Elton Jantjies were late additions to the starting team.
Jantjies starred at inside centre, while Marx was his ever-impressive self in the No 2 jersey.
The Lions' win was built on a dominant performance by their pack, with their scrum in particular posing problems for the Chiefs. Tighthead prop Carlu Sadie, who also scored a try, proved a real menace for the Chiefs.
The Lions spent most of the second half defending and held on until the 61st minute when the Chiefs mounted a comeback with three late tries, before Jantjies' drop secured victory.
In next weekend's action, the Lions face the Crusaders in Christchurch (Friday, April 26), while the Chiefs travel to Wellington to duel the Hurricanes (Saturday, April 27).
Tries: Sean Wainui, Nepo Laulala, Tumua Manu
Conversion: Marty McKenzie
Tries: Carlu Sadie, Aphiwe Dyantyi
Conversions: Elton Jantjies (2)
Penalties: Jantjies (2)
Drop goal: Jantjies
15 Jack Debreczeni, 14 Sean Wainui, 13 Alex Nankivell, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Ataata Moeakiola, 10 Marty McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber (captain), 8 Taleni Seu, 7 Lachlan Boshier, 6 Luke Jacobson, 5 Mitchell Brown, 4 Tyler Ardron, 3 Nepo Laulala, 2 Liam Polwart, 1 Angus Ta'avao
Substitutes: 16 Samisoni Taukei'aho, 17 Atu Moli, 18 Sosefo Kautai, 19 Jesse Parete, 20 Pita Gus Sowakula, 21 Jonathan Taumateine, 22 Tumua Manu, 23 Shaun Stevenson
Lions 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Sylvian Mahuza, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Elton Jantjies, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Gianni Lombard, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Stephan Lewies, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Sti SitholeSubstitutes: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Frans Van Wyk, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Franco Naude, 23 Ruan Combrinck