Cornall Hendricks (49), Raymond Rhule (23)
Elgar Watts (69), Johan Goosen (19)
Johan Goosen (51,25)


Marnitz Boshoff (75,61,57,41,29,15)
Marnitz Boshoff (79)

Full Time

The Lions are back! A dramatic late win is sealed. The Cheetahs turnover the ball but Strauss knocks the ball on in the tackle, the Lions snatching the win at the death thanks to a drop goal from the excellent Marnitz Boshoff on his Super Rugby debut. So much expectation on the Cheetahs and they've fallen at the first hurdle. What a finish.

DROP GOAL, LIONS, BOSHOFF! 20-21: Lions up to the 22 and battering around the fringes. Boshoff back in the pocket... HE GETS IT! The Lions ahead with less than a minute on the clock!

Lions within a penalty to win but pinned right back in their own half. They have the ball deep, Botha chipping into space and the ball comes back Britz's way. Cheetahs need discipline here, Lions in kicking range.

Watts has a chance to restore the five-point advantage only to miss the kick! Drama at Free State Stadium as this one heads for the wire.

LIONS, PENALTY, BOSHOFF! 20-18: That Cheetahs advantage doesn't last long, Boshoff sinking another three-pointer and the Lions are right back in this.

Lions back on the attack in Cheetahs territory. Brilliant chip and chase just doesn't come off but the Lions won't give up, flinging runners into the tackle as they look for gaps. Cook's time in the bin is up as the Cheetahs turn the ball over.

PENALTY, CHEETAHS, WATTS! 20-15: Over it goes from the replacement and the Cheetahs build a five-point advantage.

Landman on for the Cheetahs and the hosts get the penalty at the scrum. Watts with a chance to ease those nerves for the home fans with this penalty...

Botha clears right down the middle of the pitch for Hendricks. The former sevens star chips it over the top and then Boshoff knocks on trying to collect it. Cheetahs scrum in the Lions half.

Boshoff tries a sceptical drop goal which falls short, before Venter produces an excellent long-range kick to touch.

Lions secure the lineout and attack the Cheetahs 22. Lengthy build-up as they try and take advantage of Cook's sin-binning... but the ball goes forward! Pretorius kicks long and the Lions scramble, Cheetahs winning the lineout. But the quick take is disastrous as Botha runs it forward, the Lions losing the ball short five metres out. Watts clears.

High ball taken by Whiteley who spins out of the tackle and then Boshoff pins the Cheetahs back into the corner. Lions growing in confidence now.

PENALTY, LIONS, BOSHOFF! 17-15: Boshoff steps up to convert the resulting penalty, his fifth of the game. Lions now with a fighting chance of snatching a win here.

Yellow Card
YELLOW CARD, CHEETAHS, COOK! Cheetahs scrummaging far too high as the Lions win another penalty. Prinsloo off and replaced by Cook. Late tackle from Cook straight after coming on and he heads to the bin!

Sadie trying to release Rhule down that far touchline but he just can't get his hands working. So much promising build-up from the Cheetahs but the execution just isn't happening. Lions scrum.

PENALTY, LIONS, BOSHOFF! 17-12: Pretorius infringes at the breakdown and Boshoff lines up his fourth penalty. No problem - Lions draw within five.

Scrum penalty to the Lions this time, Nyakane on and not pushing straight. Lineout won by van der Merwe, but the ball is ripped and the Cheetahs look wide. Penalty and they kick to touch.

Fine clearance kick from Le Roux as the Lions trot back. Goosen down yet again as the Lions are kept on their 22 before kicking. Sadie and Hendricks combine well before Pretorius knocks on, replacing Venter at scrum-half.

TRY, CHEETAHS, HENDRICKS! 17-9: Lions pinged for coming in at the side and Goosen angles a kick back into the visitors' half. Fine break from Venter right into the 22 and he's taken high there. Long Cheetahs attack before Venter knocks on. Back for the penalty, tapped quick by Hendricks and the Cheetahs go wide through Le Roux to Hendricks for the second try! Goosen down for more attention before running over to take the conversion, which he lands.

TMO called to double check an off-field incident involving Mostert being tripped, but there's nothing in it. Goosen's kick across field is caught by Hendricks who releases the Le Roux, but the full-back has no room and his kick flies into touch. Lions lineout on the halfway line.

Boshoff's kick isn't great but it bounces back the Lions way before Krier breaks. Turned over yet again by the Cheetahs but with a four-on-two outside Le Roux knocks the ball on. The Springbok not playing at his best so far.

Cheetahs' execution lets them down again and Combrinck grubbers down the line to pin the hosts back. Fine clearance though from Le Roux, both teams playing with more caution early on in this half to try and cut down those errors.

Cheetahs trying to work a brilliant attack as Rhule runs into the 22, but the ball is lost. Botha caught by Hendricks and a few phases later Boshoff makes a handling error to give the Cheetahs a midfield scrum.

Goosen starts the second half, Botha getting the kick away for the Lions but it doesn't go far - the Cheetahs with a promising lineout now just on that Lions 22.

Half Time

PENALTY, LIONS, BOSHOFF! 10-9: Boshoff steps up and goes three from three with his kicks so far to leave the Lions trailing by just a single point here in Bloemfontein. The Cheetahs look scratchy but are threatening to score and are on top overall, but just not taking their chances. Second half coming up.

Lineout won by Minnie as Krier gets over the 22. Another advantage to the Lions very much in range, Boshoff with the chance to cut that gap to one point.

Lions take the lineout quickly and Sadie nearly intercepts, but the ball is knocked on. The visitors this time get the scrum penalty, Boshoff off clearing into the opposition half.

Great turnover defence by Whiteley and Boshoff kicks high, brilliantly taken by Goosen. Prinsloo and van der Walt trying to work the blindside but the ball is scooped up by Bondesio. Lions attacking on halfway, Mostert brought down. Turnover and Prinsloo hacks on, Rhule chasing but the ball beats him into touch.

Super scrum from the Cheetahs who clear long - too long in fact, Botha touching down the kick for a dropout. Game not quite coming to life as the intensity builds, the Cheetahs should certainly be ahead by more. Errors playing a big role.

Van der Walt alone at the back and doesn't want the kick. Should be trouble but the Cheetahs cling on and then clear through Goosen. Minnie onto Whiteley but Combrinck can't bring the pass in. Cheetahs scrum outside their 22.

Stoppage as Strauss goes down and receives treatment. Lions with a scrum on the far side, huge drive from the Cheetahs but Bondesio gets away. Mapoe straightening and beating tacklers before Rhule puts a big hit on Whiteley. Cheetahs turn the ball over and come wide, Goosen combining with Rhule but Botha has it covered.

PENALTY, LIONS, BOSHOFF! 10-6: Nice strike from the number ten and the gap on the scoreboard is cut down to four points.

Better scrum from the Lions as Watermeyer makes a half break. Penalty to the Lions, Venter not rolling away for the hosts. Boshoff lines up a shot at goal.

Le Roux hashes a kick safely into touch over halfway, for a Lions lineout. Cheetahs bossing the key areas so far. No room for Botha to attack as Boshoff goes for a long-range drop goal that comes back off the post! Cleared by the Cheetahs who then pressure the Lions in their own half, so we come back for a Lions scrum right on the halfway line.

TRY, CHEETAHS, RHULE! 10-3: Cheetahs trying to set up the maul but it heads to the touchline before the ball comes loose and the Lions run it clear. But their endeavour backfires as the ball comes loose and Le Roux scoops it up, before releasing Rhule for the try in the corner! It's been coming and now the Cheetahs have that first try. Fine conversion from Goosen.

Oosthuizen drops the pass but it's not forward as Venter and Prinsloo send the Cheetahs forward in the 22. Lions pinged for not releasing and Goosen goes for the corner instead of the posts. Promising position now.

Plenty of effort from the Lions but the Cheetahs are too smart at the breakdown, Strauss that time making the turnover with the penalty. Cheetahs back up to the Lions 22.

PENALTY, CHEETAHS, GOOSEN! 3-3: The hosts have their first points to level things up. Goosen recovering from a heavy tackle to land that kick.

Le Roux's pass to Hendricks goes forwards, so the Lions get the scrum on the far side just in their own half. Lions in real trouble at the scrum as Schalk Van der Merwe is pinged. Goosen aiming to level the scores.

PENALTY, LIONS, BOSHOFF! 0-3: Over it goes! So despite all that early pressure from the Cheetahs it's the Lions who bag the first points.

Solid scrum as van Rensburg carries. Loop from Bondesio comes off but then the Cheetahs win another penalty at the breakdown, before it's reversed after a needless push in the face from Prinsloo. He won't do that again. Boshoff with a chance to put the Lions on the board.

Boshoff clears long as the Cheetahs look for space. Straight running from Venter before the hosts try and go wide, but Le Roux knocks on in the tackle. Another Lions scrum, but this time in the Cheetahs half.

A second scrum penalty to the Cheetahs, Redelinghuys the guilty party as Goosen kicks to touch outside the 22. Crash ball from Oosthuizen up the middle and then with a gap in front of him Le Roux drops the ball. Well worked by Venter in the build-up, Lions with the scrum.

Pass is too far ahead of Oosthuizen from Le Roux so the Lions get a scrum in the Cheetahs half down on the near side. Collapse on the near side but the Lions come away with it, before van der Merwe's pass goes forward. Cheetahs scrum in midfield.

Goosen hashes a simple kick to the left, hooking the ball as he made contact with the tee. Relief for the Lions.

Goosen finds a good touch deep in Lions territory. Minnie well tackled by the Cheetahs who turn the ball over for the game's first scrum in the Lions half. Penalty to the Cheetahs and Prinsloo taps and goes. Deep in the Lions 22 with advantage played. No advantage so we come back for another penalty, Goosen going for goal.

Goosen has the distance but the ball goes down the left side of the posts. Boshoff drops out. Le Roux to Rhule who gets over halfway. Labuschagne running hard before a chip kick doesn't come off and Boshoff clears long.

Carries from Strauss before Goosen clears long. Botha runs it up, Prinsloo disrupting a little at the ruck. Lions trying to build as they work the ball in the Cheetahs half, but the penalty goes the Cheetahs way. From 60 metres out, Goosen is going for goal.

Kick Off
High temperatures in Bloemfontein as both sides run out onto the field. Big test this for the Lions coming back into Super Rugby with minimal expectations. Boshoff to get us underway. Super Rugby is back!

Sunny skies at Free State Stadium will give us the perfect platform for running rugby.

Johan Ackermann's Lions' XV includes six Super Rugby debutants, namely Chrysander Botha, Marnitz Boshoff, Franco Mostert, Julian Redelinghuys, Robbie Coetzee and Schalk van der Merwe. Warren Whiteley captains from number eight.

Cheetahs coach Naka Drotske named a full-strength side. Springbok fly-half Johan Goosen makes a return to the side after a long injury lay-off, while Bulls recruit Francois Venter will receive a starting berth at centre. Springbok prop Trevor Nyakane has been named on the bench with Caylib Oosthuizen being named in the starting XV.

Hello and welcome to the beginning of Super Rugby 2014 as last season's Wildcard team the Cheetahs host the returning Lions in Bloemfontein.

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