Super Rugby Round-up: Stormers and Lions beat Jaguares and Sharks

The Stormers were made to sweat for their victory over the Pumas in the opening game of the 2018 Super Rugby season

Super Rugby returned with two games in the South African conference on Saturday, as the Stomers and Lions overcame Los Jaguares and the Sharks.

The New Zealand and Australian conferences do not start until next week, but here is everything that went on in the opening round from Cape Town and Johannesburg…

Stormers 28-20 Jaguares

The Stormers opened the Super Rugby season with a victory but were made to work for it after a determined late comeback from Argentina’s Jaguares at Newlands.

The Cape Town-based outfit led 22-6 after tries from Damian de Allende, Siya Kolisi and one straight from the second-half kick-off from Raymond Rhule.

Though the visitors paid the price for losing full-back Joaquin Tuculet to a yellow card in the first half, the momentum was reversed when Stormers hooker Ramone Samuels went to the bin for slowing down Jaguares possession in the 65th.

That gave the Jaguares, who had already struck back once through winger Emiliano Boffelli, complete scrum dominance.

It told three minutes later when the visitors earned a penalty try, but the final kick of the game from Damian Willemse – who had already contributed two conversions and two penalties – secured the victory.

Lions 26-19 Sharks

Elsewhere on Saturday, the Lions began their latest quest for a first Super Rugby title with a slender 26-19 win over the Sharks.

Last year's beaten finalists the Lions opened their 2018 Super Rugby account with a hard-fought win over the Sharks

It was a morale-boosting start for the losing finalists of the last two years against a team seen as its strongest challenger in the South African conference.

The Lions came back from an early try by new Sharks fly-half Robert du Preez to score four of their own at Ellis Park, two via outside-centre Lionel Mapoe.

The Lions backs were given a platform by a dominant scrum, and the Johannesburg-based team were clinical with attacking opportunities to hand new coach Swys de Bruin a winning start.

Still, there were nervous moments in the dying minutes when the Lions clung on to deny the Sharks three times from five-metre lineouts.