The Lions booked their place in their first ever Super Rugby final on Saturday 30 July by beating the Highlanders 42-30 in the semi-final game at Ellis Park.
The home team outscored the current title holders by 12 points. The Super Rugby final will be the Lions’ first in the professional era as their last “Super” final was in 1995 when they played as the “Golden Lions” and lost to a Queensland side, Super XV reported.
Elton Jantjies of the Lions was first to cross the line close to the posts in the 11th minute and then the bustling midfielder Rohan Janse van Rensburg rounded off splendidly 13 minutes later for the side’s second try.
Jantjies converted both tries and in between these two tries, he was on target with a penalty for the Lions’ eventual 17-point first-half haul. Highlanders flyhalf Lima Sopoaga opened the scoring for the New Zealand visitors in the 18th minute and also missed another two penalties in the opening 30 minutes.
When second-half play resumed, Jantjies produced a moment of magic. First, he goaled a penalty and he then he pulled off a lightning break deep inside his own half before feeding Courtnall Skosan whose blistering pace left several defenders floundering in his slipstream on the way to the tryline. Jantjies missed the conversion but the try opened up an impressive 19-point lead at 25-6.
As the match wound towards its finish, attack continued to have the upper hand over defence. The Lions were next in with a converted try by substitute Lourens Erasmus and Waisake Naholo replied with a converted try and the scoreline advanced to 42-23 with four minutes playing time left.
Highlanders substitute Joe Wheeler had the final say with a converted try on the full time siren. The Lions will travel to Wellington, New Zealand where they will play the Hurricanes in the final at Westpac Stadium on Saturday 06 August.