Hurricanes blown away as Lions storm into Super Rugby final


The Hurricanes hopes of retaining their Super Rugby title were dashed in stunning fashion on Saturday as the Lions pulled off a sensational comeback to triumph 44-29 in their semi-final in Johannesburg.

After an Elton Jantjies penalty had edged the Lions in front early on, the visitors ran up 22 unanswered points to seize control against the side they beat in last year's final.

However, Jacques van Rooyen went over late in the first half to give hope to the South African franchise, who had required a 78th-minute penalty against the Sharks to make the last four.

The Lions then dominated an astonishing second period, scoring a further five tries to gain sweet revenge over the Hurricanes and book a home final against the Crusaders.

The Hurricanes looked to be on their way to a hugely convincing victory when TJ Perenara and Ardie Savea claimed opportunist tries either side of Wes Goosen rounding off a flowing move that saw Beauden Barrett produce a trademark surge through the opposition defence.

Both Perenara and Savea pounced on loose balls to score, the former twice kicking ahead before diving on the ball for the game's opening try.

Van Rooyen's converted score reduced the Lions' deficit to 12 points at the break, but few could have predicted what was to follow.

After Ross Cronje had sneaked over from close range, hooker Malcolm Marx was driven over from a maul to level the score, Jantjies hitting the post with the subsequent conversion attempt.

The Hurricanes, suddenly subdued having thrown the ball around with typical flair for much of the first period, were initially able to respond as Nehe Milner-Skudder put Ngani Laumape over in the right corner and Jordie Barrett added the extras.

Yet Beauden Barrett was then sin-binned for not rolling away and the Lions took advantage by moving ahead for the first time, Jantjies kicking his second penalty before Harold Vorster glided through a huge gap in the Canes' under-manned defence.

Jordie Barrett missed a kick that would have levelled the score and two further home tries put the game to bed - Jantjies and Kwagga Smith rounding off a stunning afternoon for the Lions.