The Lions keep hopes of a place in URC play-offs alive

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The Lions have kept their hopes of a place in the play-offs in the United Rugby Championship (URC) very much alive. The Joburg outfit recorded a comprehensive 44-21 victory over the Glasgow Warriors in the pen-ultimate round of the competition at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.

The Glasgow Warriors would certainly have run out with a point to prove after having been replaced at the top of the URC standings by their closest rivals Munster on Friday and having dropped to third place after the Bulls victory on Saturday.

And true to form it was the visitors from Glasgow, who led the head-to-head count between the two side 2-1, that opened the scoring at Ellis Park.

After speeding past the Lions disorganized defense, Kyle Rowe was gifted a lucky bounce, and he didn’t need to be asked twice. Jordan Hendrikse’s 25th minute penalty, his first in three attempts kept the home side in the contest.

But it was Rabz Maxwane who sent the home fans into a frenzy after a swift steal saw him charge over the goal line to put the Lions in lead.

Ruan Vanter received a red card for a high tackle and Francke Horn was sin binned a few minutes later but it didn’t affect the score, as the hosts went into the break ahead by just one point, 8-7.

The Warriors capitalized on the 13-man Lions early in the second half as Euan Ferrie won the battle on the line. The hosts, coming off the back of a comprehensive win over Cardiff last week, responded swiftly as Edwill van der Merwe and then Maxwane again crossed the whitewash within minutes of one another extending their advantage to 22-14.

That seem to open the flood gates for the home side as JC Pretorius also touched down under the upright’s moments later, making it a 15-point game.

Sanele Nohamba, finding himself in the right place at the right time also added his name to the score sheet.

Both teams added another five points to their tallies in the dying minutes, but the home side secured an emphatic 44-21 victory keeping their chances of a spot in the play-offs on track.

The Lions final match in the league phase of the tournament is against the Stormers, in Cape Town in two weeks’ time.