Port Elizabeth - The Golden Lions kept their hopes for a place in the Currie Cup semi-finals alive with a convincing 71-7 victory over the EP Kings in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
The Lions knew they had to get five points from this game and in the end they had little trouble achieving that goal to continue their resurgence in the latter part of the competition.
Kwagga Smith, captain for this game, capped off an impressive performance with a hat-trick in tries while centres Howard Mnisi and Jacques Nel scored a brace each in a game which was so one-sided it sometimes looked like a training match rather than a Currie Cup encounter.
The EP Kings, for all their troubles, simply don't belong at this level and their results in this year's competition reflects the shambles the Eastern Province Rugby Union find themselves in.
In a game which lacked any intensity there was also no desire from the home team to defend with any kind of effiency or pride. Many of the tries the Lions scored looked like the Kings just couldn't be bothered to put their bodies on the line.
The Lions had already secured the bonus-point at half-time but never really took their foot off the gas as they added a further 45 unaswered points in the second half.
The victory moved them up to fifth on the table, a point behing Western Province in fourth with one more round of matches to go.
Ruan Ackermann scored from a driving maul after the Lions had a line-out 5m out early in the first half. The visitors dominated territiry in the first 20 minutes while the Kings were so ill disciplined they conceded an unbelievable eight penalties in the first 26 minutes of the game.
Mnisi threw a dummy and stepped inside twice for his first try and received an offload from Smith late in the second half for his second. Smith himself took a pop pass from a 5m ruck for his first try while his second came after he simply picked the ball from a ruck deep in the Kings 22 and ran over.
He completed his hat-trick with a great show of pace down the right touchline after he took a gap and fended off a tackle before dashing for the line.
While this was a much needed win for the Lions they have to go again next week when they host the Sharks.
Conversion: De Wet
Tries: Ackermann, Mnisi (2), K Marx, Smith (3), Volmink, Nel (2), Mahuza
Conversions: Van der Walt (8)
Eastern Province Kings
15 Johan Tromp, 14 Alcino Izaacs, 13 Berton Klaasen, 12 Waylon Murray, 11 Sampie Mastriet, 10 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 9 Ricky Schroeder (captain), 8 Christiaan de Bruin, 7 Brandon Brown, 6 Luke van der Smit, 5 Sebastian Ferreira, 4 David Antonites/Tazz Fuzani, 3 Pieter Stemmet, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 Justin Forwood
Substitutes: 16 Cullen Collopy, 17 Vukile Sofisa, 18 Etienne Oosthuizen, 19 Vince Jobo, 20 Vian van der Watt, 21 Lungelo Gosa, 22 Johan Greyling
15 Sylvian Mahuza 14 Koch Marx, 13 Jacques Nel, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Antony Volmink, 10 Jaco van der Walt,9 Dillon Smit, 8 Ruaan Lerm , 7 Ruan Ackermann, 6 Kwagga Smith (captain), 5 Bobby de Wee, 4 JP du Preez, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylan Smith
Substitutes: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Fabian Booysen, 19 Cyle Brink, 20 Ross Cronje, 21 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 22 Andries Coetzee