A late try by Lionel Mapoe saw the Lions beat the Melbourne Rebels 20-16 in Australia on Friday. The men from Melbourne showed some early enterprise with ball in hand, but the Lions defended with big hits. Mike Harris slotted over a penalty in the third minute to give the men from Australia an early lead.
The men from Johannesburg received a big blow when lock Franco Mostert was sin-binned for cynically slapping the ball out of the Nic Stirzaker’s hands. It proved to be costly when Mitch Inman burst over for the home side’s first try. Harris was unable to add the extras.
Poor defence by the Lions saw debutant Jonah Placid score the second try for the Rebels but Harris missed another conversion. Elton Jantjies’s penalty in the 32nd minute ended the half as the teams went into the break 13-3 with the away side trailing. Johan Ackermann’s side scored the first points of the second half through Marnitz Boshoff who scored under the posts.
Jantjies added the extras to bring them within three points. A second yellow card of the match was awarded to Steven Cummins for a dangerous tackle in the 59th minute. Jantjies slotted over the penalty to level matters. Thereafter, the hosts took the lead through a Harris penalty in the 66th minute.
The Lions showed great character to score a late try through Mapoe, to win 20-16 against the Rebels.