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Two sides who were victorious in their opening game of the 2017 Super Rugby season, the Lions and the Waratahs, go head to head in Round 2 on Saturday at Ellis Park in Johannesburg. Last season's runners-up, the Lions ground out a hard fought South African derby victory in Bloemfontein last weekend, overcoming the Cheetahs by 28-25 on a rain sodden pitch. After a turgid first half, that had ended 6-6, the Lions scored three of the four tries in the second period, which proved just enough to see them home. The bad news came in the form of a ligament injury to Howard Msini, which could see him sidelined for nine months.
The Lions won eight of the 10 games that they played last season at Ellis Park Stadium, including play-off fixtures, with only the Crusaders and the eventual Champions the Hurricanes leaving Johannesburg with victory under their belts. The Waratahs themselves were engaged in an attritional fixture in Round 1, against the Force in Sydney. The game saw just two tries, one for each team, as the Tahs just about did enough to claim the victory 19-13. In 2016 the Waratahs played once in South Africa, winning at the Stormers by 32-30, one of four wins in the last six games they have played in the Republic.
Posted: 30th May 2015
The Lions who entertain the reigning Champions, the Waratahs, in Johannesburg on Saturday, have only two regular season fixtures remaining, one less than most of the other play-off challengers. However, they picked up a bonus point win last weekend in Bloem last week, which moved them up to within two points of the Stormers, who they meet away from home in Round 17. Two wins could see them sneak the South African Conference title, and a place in the play-offs.
The Waratahs have struggled to find any consistency this season in defence of their title, but their 32-22 win against the Crusaders in Sydney in Round 15, saw them open a three point lead over the Brumbies in the Australian Conference. With an away match to the Cheetahs, and then a final home game against the Reds, the Lions look to present the biggest hurdle remaining, between the Waratahs and the knockout stages. The Australian side have won five of the six matches they have played on the Lions turf, with the home team's only success coming back in 2001, when they won 28-21. The only time that they have ever managed to defeated the Tahs at any venue, whether home or away.
Tags: Super Rugby
, Ellis Park Stadium