Pretoria - The Golden Lions made a convincing plea for their re-entrance to Super Rugby when they overpowered the Blue Bulls 50-12 in a friendly match at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
The Johannesburg-based side fired on all cylinders in the first half scoring four unanswered tries for a 31-0 lead going into break.
They continually asked questions of the Bulls' defence with some clever backline moves, but it was the forwards who cause the most damage.
Lions captain JC Janse van Rensburg proved once again why he is so highly-rated during scrum time and gave Marcell van der Merwe a baptism of fire in his debut for the men in blue.
The Bulls were outplayed in the scrums, with the Lions using their domination in this area to great effect.
Stokkies Hanekom found their way over the tryline for the Lions, two minutes into the match. Flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff converted the try for a 7-0 lead.
The Lions continued to grind their way over the advantage line and, seven minutes later, set up a try for prop Julian Redelinghuys.
Boshoff converted and added three more points through a penalty conversion.
On the half-hour mark, Hendrik Roodt crossed the whitewash for his side’s third try with Boshoff converting to extend their lead to 24 points.
With five minutes left in the first half, Deon van Rensburg scored from a an intercept to finish off with a long range sprint.
Boshoff added the two points to give the Lions a 31-0 lead going into the break.
Despite the Bulls showing some improvements in defence, the Lions scored three more tries in the second period with flank Derick Minnie scoring the first try after the break.
Anthony Volmink got into the action 13 minutes later, through some fleet-footed running as he toyed with the defence. He went outside and then cut to the inside to score under the posts, with Boshoff converting.
The Bulls' eventual first try came courtesy of Jacques du Plessis, with Tony Jantjies converting the five-pointer.
Guy Cronje dotted down, for the Lions' seventh try, in the left-hand corner which Lionel Cronje converted to bring up the team's half-century.
The hosts had the final say when Ruan Snyman found a gap to score two minutes from time with Jantjies’ effort going wide.
Tries: Stokkies Hanekom, Julian Redelinghuys, Hendrik Roodt, Deon van Rensburg, Derick Minnie, Anthony Volmink, Guy Cronje.
Conversions: Marnitz Boshoff (5), Lionel Cronje
Tries: Jacques du Plessis, Ruan Snyman
Conversion: Tony Jantjies
15 Ruan Combrinck, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Stokkies Hanekom, 12 Dylan des Fountain, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Lambert Groenewald, 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Warwick Tecklenburg, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Hendrik Roodt, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg (captain).
Substitutes: 16 Francois du Toit, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 JJ Breet, 20 Willie Britz, 21 Guy Cronje, 22 Lionel Cronje, 23 Chrysander Botha
15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Jesse Kriel, 13 Ulrich Beyers, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Travis Ismaiel, 10 Handrè Pollard, 9 Rudy Paige, 8 Jean Cook, 7 Jacques du Plessis, 6 Shaun Adendorff, 5 Dennis Visser, 4 Schalk van Heerden, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Dawie Steyn
Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Hencus van Wyk, 18 Christof Gouws, 19 Irne Herbst, 20 Roelof Smit, 21 Ruan Snyman, 22 Tony Jantjies, 23 Dries Swanepoel, 24 Rohan Janse van Rensburg
Challenge fixture list for 2013:January 19: Lions 51-13 Russia
January 23: Lions 33-17 Cheetahs
February 2: Lions 33-38 Bulls
February 9: Lions 41-31 Kings
February 23: Namibia v Lions - Cancelled
March 16: Lions 56-24 Mont de Marsan
April 13: US Invitational v Lions - Cancelled
April 20: US Invitational v Lions - Cancelled
April 27: Chicago Lions v Lions - Cancelled
May 11: Lions v Agen - Ellis Park - Cancelled
June 1: Lions 74-14 Samoa - Ellis Park
June 14: Lions 42-12 Western Province - Ellis Park
June 21: Lions 33-29 Sharks - Ellis Park
July 6: Lions 50-12 Blue Bulls - Loftus Versfeld
July 13: Lions v Griquas - Ellis Park - 15:00
July 26: Super Rugby promotion/relegation - TBA - 19:10
August 2: Super Rugby promotion/relegation - Ellis Park - 19:10