Lions roar back to snatch victory over Reds
Lionel Mapoe in action during a Super 15 match in Canberra on March 30, 2013 - by Mark Graham
But the South Africans had to endure an agonising wait before the television match official and referee confirmed that the score stood amid suspicions of a double-movement on the ground.
Few in a 20,000 crowd at the Johannesburg stadium would have given the Lions much hope of victory when they trailed by 17 points approaching half-time.
A penalty from fly-half Marnitz Boshoff cut the gap to 20-6 at the break and the Lions took control of the second half to score 17 unanswered points.
The Australians, beaten by Coastal Sharks in Durban last weekend, contributed to their downfall with indiscipline that led to two players being sin binned during the closing stages.
Replacement prop Albert Anae got yellow carded on 71 minutes and No. 8 Jake Schatz followed him to the sideline soon after.
Replacement centre Lionel Mapoe was the other try scorer for the Lions, whose fourth win in six matches mocked pre-season predictions that they would be whipping boys.
Leading Super 15 points scorer Boshoff lifted his total to 107 with two conversions and three penalties in another flawless goal-kicking performance.
Rival fly-half Quade Cooper was a one-man scoring machine for the Brisbane outfit, converting his two tries and potting two penalties for a 20-point haul.
Victory lifted the Lions to 16 points -- fourth on the overall standings -- while a third loss in five matches left former champions the Reds in mid-table with 10 points.
Cooper kicked a third-minute penalty in perfect South African autumn conditions and claimed his first try three minutes later.
Sloppy Lions' handling allowed the Wallaby playmaker to dart over beside the post and a successful conversion gave the visitors a 10-point advantage.
Early injuries deprived the Reds of full-back Aidan Toua and the Lions of lock Franco van der Merwe with Dom Shipperley and MB Lusaseni coming off the bench.
Boshoff slotted a penalty before Shipperley had a try ruled out because the Lions had handled at a ruck and Cooper kicked the resulting penalty.
Cooper and scrum-half Will Genia were running the show and the Reds went 20-3 ahead when the playmaker cut inside and strolled over for his second converted try.
After several scrums close to the Reds' try-line failed to deliver a try, Boshoff was given a shot at goal which he successfully planted between the posts.
The Reds were unable to sustain their pressure after half-time with the Lions giving the Australians a hard time at the scrums, in particular.
Another Boshoff penalty was the only reward until Mapoe shrugged off several tackles to dive over and the conversion left four points between the teams 15 minutes from time.
The Reds responded to the Skosan try by launching a multi-phase attack that took play deep into Lions' territory, but an infringement dashed the Australians' hopes as the referee blew for time.