Lions demolish Kings
Johannesburg - The Lions have thrashed a Southern Kings team made up of Border and SWD players in a pre-season friendly in George on Tuesday night.
The men from Johannesburg won 88-0, after leading 40-0 at the break.
Flyhalf Elton Jantjies crossed for two tries and kicked nine conversions for a personal tally of 28 points as the Super Rugby franchise demonstrated the gulf between those in the system and those who are desperately trying to get there.
In posting such an impressive performance, admittedly against opposition not at the same level, the Lions sent out a strong message that they intend to follow up their Currie Cup triumph last year.
It will obviously be a different playing field when the competition starts next week, but the Lions looked full of confidence and played with superb cohesion.
This was illustrated early in the game when three of their first four tries came from driving mauls after lineouts on the five-metre line. The Kings simply could not stop the Lions' teamwork on the drive, resulting in two tries by Derick Minnie, another by Cobus Grobbelaar, as well as a penalty try.
As the Lions forwards effectively recycled the ball, scrumhalf Michael Bondesio provided an accurate and lively service for Jantjies, who showed crisp distribution to have the Kings constantly on the defence.
The home side never gave up trying, but no team can keep plugging the gaps and the 40-0 score at half-time was a clear signal of who was in control.
Skipper Gareth Krause and No 8 Michael Vermaak were always in the thick of things and wing Vuyo Mboto had one or two chances down the right flank, but the Kings' execution often lacked the necessary accuracy due to the greater pressure they were under.
It did not help matters early in the second half when the constant bombardment by the Lions saw the Kings commit too many infringements for referee Marius Jonker's liking and two yellow cards in quick succession reduced them to 13 men at one stage.
The Lions made the most of this, running in three tries in four minutes to ensure there would be no easy way out for the home side.
In the end, the Lions crossed for 13 tries, plus the penalty try, while Jantjies landed nine of his 13 attempts at goal.
The Southern Kings now face their final match of the pre-season friendlies when they come up against the Sharks at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Friday evening.
Lions: 88 (40)
Tries: Derick Minnie (2), Deon van Rensburg (2), Cobus Grobbelaar, Elton Jantjies (2), Callie Visagie (2), Patric Cilliers, Hendrik Roodt, James Kamana (2), penalty try.
Conversions: Jantjies (9).
Kings: Not known
Lions: 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Doppies la Grange, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 James Kamana, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Joshua Strauss (captain), 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 Ruan Botha, 3 Hendrik Roodt, 2 Patric Cilliers, Callie Visagie, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Substitutes: 16 Francois du Toit, 17 Jacobie Adriaanse, 18 Stephan Greeff, 19 Doppies le Roux, 20 Tian Meyer, 21 Butch James, 22 Lionel Mapoe.