Clinical Lions stretch lead
Elton Jantjies (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Clinical Golden Lions scored six tries en route to a bonus-point 43-23 victory over Platinum Leopards Friday in the Currie Cup.
Success in Potchefstroom gave the Lions a 10-point lead at the top of the table in the oldest domestic rugby union championship in the world.
Closest rivals Western Province and title holders Sharks have tough away games Saturday at Blue Bulls and Free State Cheetahs respectively as they seek to close the gap with four league rounds left after this weekend.
The Lions have benefited from having only fly-half Butch James with defending champions South Africa at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand while Province, Sharks and Bulls form the core of the 30-man squad.
But former All Blacks coach John Mitchell deserves credit for transforming a star-less team of perennial underachievers into an efficient outfit who shrugged off an early Leopards lead to build a 21-9 advantage by half-time.
Prop Patric Cilliers scored the bonus-point fourth try eight minutes into the second half and the Lions were 43-9 ahead before the bottom-of-the-table Leopards grabbed two late converted tries.
Leopards: Tries: Johann Laker, Gavin Williamson. Conversions: Clayton Durand (2). Penalties: Wesley Dunlop (3).
Lions: Tries: Derick Minnie (2), Jaco Taute, Pat Cilliers, Michael Killian, Johan Snyman. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (5). Penalties: Jantjies.