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Lions roar to pulsating Vodacom Super Rugby win

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The 2018 Vodacom Super Rugby season got off to an exciting start on Saturday afternoon when the Emirates Lions and the DHL Stormers both clinched home victories in the first round of matches.

The Emirates Lions showed their class with a thrilling 26-19 win over the Cell C Sharks in Johannesburg, while in Cape Town Springbok centre Damian de Allende scored the first try of the 2018 campaign for the DHL Stormers in their hard-earned 28-20 victory over the Jaguares.

 

With regular skipper Warren Whiteley back and leading his charges superbly again, the Emirates Lions delivered a dominant scrum display to set the platform for a pulsating 26-19 win over their coastal rivals. The Highveld team led 14-7 at halftime.

Centre Lionel Mapoe scored a brace of tries and flank Kwagga Smith also scored. However, it was the display by debutant wing Aphiwe Dyantyi which must have pleased the home supporters.

Dyantyi showed an impressive burst of speed to collect his own grubber kick and dotted down for a breathtaking try just five minutes into the game. To complete his memorable debut, the young flyer was also awarded with the Man of the Match prize afterwards. Springbok flyhalf Elton Jantjies kicked three conversions.

The Durban team rallied with three tries by imposing flyhalf Robert du Preez and speedsters Sbu Nkosi and Makazole Mapimpi. Du Preez also hit the mark with two conversions.

On a hot afternoon in Cape Town, the DHL Stormers surged into a 15-6 halftime lead following tries from De Allende and captain, Siya Kolisi. New recruit Raymond Rhule also got onto the scoresheet in the second half and young flyhalf Damian Willemse contributed two conversions and two penalties.

The Argentine side, who came with a strong onslaught towards the end, replied with a try by winger Emiliano Boffelli while they were rewarded a penalty try after a series of dominant scrums following Ramone Samuels’ yellow card for a repeated team offence.

Boffelli kicked a long-range penalty and flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez slotted a conversion and a penalty.

Next week, the DHL Stormers start their Australasian tour with a match in Sydney against the Waratahs (10h45, SA time), the Emirates Lions entertain the Jaguares in Johannesburg (15h05), while the Vodacom Bulls kick off their campaign when they welcome the Hurricanes to Pretoria (17h15).

The Cell C Sharks are not in action next weekend.