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    Dominant Lions blow away the Blues

    2016-05-14 22:08

    Johannesburg - A whirlwind start set up the Lions for a 43-5 triumph over the Blues on Saturday after a one-sided Super Rugby match played in driving rain.

    As it happened: Lions v Blues

    Humiliated at home by the Hurricanes in their previous match, the South Africans took out their frustrations on another New Zealand team by scoring seven tries in Johannesburg.

    Three of those scores came within 11 minutes of the kick-off at Ellis Park stadium, giving the hosts a 19-0 advantage they retained until half-time.

    A further two tries early in the second half stretched the gap to 31 points and long before the end the only undecided issue was how wide a winning margin the Lions would achieve.

    Securing a bonus point after scoring seven tries lifted the Lions to pole position in the two Africa conferences, one point above the Stormers.

    The Blues lie seventh in the Australasian standings, 11 points below the last playoff spot, and they are the only New Zealand outfit likely to miss the quarter-finals.

    "I am very proud of our performance," said Lions skipper and No 8 Warren Whiteley. "We were hurting after conceding 50 points against the Hurricanes.

    "We spoke openly among ourselves after that devastating loss and vowed to get back on the winning trail against the Blues.

    "It was a wonderful all-round showing with the backs and forwards combining brilliantly.

    "While Lionel Mapoe was a worthy man of the match after scoring three tries, all 15 starters and the eight players who came off the bench deserve credit."

    Blues skipper and hooker James Parsons refused to use the relentless rain as an excuse for the heaviest loss of the season suffered by the former three-time champions.

    "The conditions were equally difficult for both teams so we cannot use the unpleasant weather as an excuse," he said.

    "We did not adapt to the conditions and need to take a long, hard look at ourselves before we play the Force in Australia next weekend."

    Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies converted four tries to overtake All Black Beauden Barrett of the Hurricanes as the leading points scorer this season.

    Jantjies has 124 points followed by New Zealanders Barrett (122), Damian McKenzie (120) of Chiefs and Lima Sopoaga (116) from defending champions Highlanders.

    Centre Mapoe (3), Whiteley, wing Courtnall Skosan, centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg and flank Warwick Tecklenburg were the Lions' try scorers.

    The Blues' points came from a try by substitute Joe Edwards on 74 minutes with his team 38 points behind.

    In next weekend's Round 13 action, the Lions host the Jaguares (Saturday, May 21 at 15:00), while the Blues head for Perth and a match against the Force (Saturday, May 21 at 11:45 SA time).

    Teams:

    Lions

    15 Jaco van der Walt, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Ruan Ackermann, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylan Smith

    Substitutes: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Jacques van Rooyen, 19 Robert Kruger, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Faf de Klerk, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Sylvian Mahuza

    Blues

    15 Lolagi Visinia, 14 Melani Nanai, 13 George Moala, 12 Piers Francis, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Ihaia West, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Steven Luatua, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Hoani Matenga, 4 Patrick Tuipulotu, 3 Charlie Faumuina, 2 James Parsons (captain), 1 Sam Prattley

    Substitutes: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Nic Mayhew, 18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi, 19 Kara Pryor, 20 Joe Edwards, 21 Billy Guyton, 22 Matt McGahan, 23 Male Sau

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    Fixtures

    Saturday, 17 February 2018
    • Stormers v Jaguares, Cape Town 15:05
    • Lions v Sharks, Emirates Airlines Park 17:15
    Friday, 23 February 2018
    • Highlanders v Blues, Forsyth Barr Stadium 08:35
    • Rebels v Reds, AAMI Park 10:45
    Saturday, 24 February 2018
    • Sunwolves v Brumbies, Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium 06:15
    • Crusaders v Chiefs, AMI Stadium 08:35
    • Waratahs v Stormers, Allianz Stadium 10:45
    • Lions v Jaguares, Emirates Airlines Park 15:05
    • Bulls v Hurricanes, Loftus Versfeld 17:15

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