PERTH (Reuters) - Flyhalf Elton Jantjies scored a try after the hooter to lead South Africa’s Lions to a bonus-point 24-15 victory over the Western Force of Australia in their Super Rugby clash on Saturday.
Last year’s beaten finalists ended a run of six straight losses against the Force and claimed an eighth victory in nine matches in Super Rugby this season.
Centre Lionel Mapoe and wing Courtnall Skosan also scored tries for the visitors in the first half, while Jantjies landed three conversions and a penalty.
All the points for the home side came from the boot of scrumhalf Ian Prior, who kicked five penalties.
The Lions made a positive start and after opting for an attacking lineout from a penalty, Mapoe burst through the Force backline to score the opening try inside seven minutes.
The Force started to get the upper-hand in the territory stakes, but could find no way through the Lions defence. They were rewarded with a penalty that was converted by Prior, who added a second after an illegal steal from the visitors.
The Lions were having to feed off scraps of possession, but grabbed a second try with a well-worked backline move that involved good hands from hooker Malcolm Marx, Jantjies and Mapoe, who eventually found Skosan to dot down in the corner.
Prior landed a third penalty to see the Force trail 14-9 at halftime, before a massive scrum early in the second half gave him the opportunity to close the gap to two points.
Jantjies extended the visitors’ lead again with another three points after the Force went offside, but Prior kicked his fifth penalty with 15 minutes to play.
The home side spent much of the remainder of the game in the Lions half, but could not force more points, and in the end succumbed to a third try for the visitors.
The Lions opted for a scrum from a penalty right in front of the Force posts after the hooter had sounded, bravely seeking the bonus point when they might have taken an easy three points to end the game.
Jantjies produced an excellent angled run after receiving the ball from the scrum and completed a sixth-straight victory for his side in this year’s competition.
The Force handed a debut to 22-year-old South African-born wing James Verity-Amm.
(Reporting By Nick Said,; Editing by Neville Dalton)