Johannesburg - The Lions took another step towards finishing the Super
Rugby season as the top-ranked team thanks to a 57-21 win over the Southern Kings
at Ellis Park on Friday.
The Lions outscored their visitors eight tries to three to
stay a point clear of the Australasian Group leaders, the Chiefs, with just one
round of the regular season left to play.
A strong second half from the hosts allowed them to seal
another comprehensive victory, although the Kings had fought valiantly to trail
by just ten points at the interval.
The half-time stats were completely in the Lions’ favour. It
was hard to imagine the Kings were actually only 10 points behind at the end of
the first-half as it ended 17-7. In the attacking statistics they had eight
clean breaks when the Kings had none, had 70 carries to the Kings’ 42 and the
Lions' share of possession in the first half with 65 percent.
Lions coach Johan Ackermann was visibly upset at the half-time
interview and clearly gave his team a stern talking to as they came out of the
change room with a new sense of respect for the Kings. The Lions slowed their
game down and spread the Kings defence far better.
Yellow cards to Shane Gates for being off-side and Edgar
Marutlulle for a breakdown infringement cost the Kings as they were down to 13
men and could no longer hold out the red tide of Lions players.
Centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg had another brilliant game
in a red jersey as he scored a brace and made 104 metres for his side. He
seemed to be everywhere on the field as he ran short lines off his team-mate's
The Lions came out the blocks firing as they got fast, on
the line ball from flyhalf Elton Jantjies who was also superb. Janse van Rensburg
hit a fantastic line and Courtnall Skosan gave the pass on the inside shoulder
to Janse van Rensburg to go over for the Lions’ first try of the match.
The Kings put a lot of pressure on the Lions defensive line
right on the five-metre mark. And eventually the pressure became too much for
the home side to deal with as they knocked it on for the Kings to pick up, play
it wide and nippy scrumhalf James Hall eventually scored and tied the game at 7-all.
The Lions went back in front when the Kings scrum crumbled
and Jacobie Adriaanse was penalised for collapsing the scrum. Jantjies made no
mistake to score.
Andries Coetzee added to the scoreline after Jantjies broke
the line through a clever ‘dummie’ just before he made contact with the Kings
defence, he off-loaded to Coetzee who burned down the cover defence for the
The Kings finally ticked their side of the scoreboard over
as Jantjies had men all around him but instead gave it flat to Kings centre
Stefan Watermeyer, who intercepted the ball and jogged in the Kings’ second
The floodgates were officially opened when reserve hooker
Armand ‘Akker’ van Der Merwe broke the Kings line on his own 22 metre and
charged down-field before giving a pass wide to Ruan Combrinck, who gave it
inside to Sylvian Mahuza who rounded off.
Skosan scored another five pointer after Howard Mnisi gave
an incredible off-load around the defender, to Janse van Rensburg who swung it wide
to Mahuza and then as if playing with cones at practice to Skosan, who dotted down.
The Kings did get a consolation try after the buzzer after
Kevin Luiters took it quickly, played it wide and found Schalk Ferreira who
crashed through the Lions defence and scored in the corner.
The win also saw the Lions secure the South African
Conference title as well as Africa Conference 2.
Heading into next weekend's final round of regular season action, the Lions travel to Argentina to face the
Jaguares, while the Kings will close their campaign against the Stormers in Cape
Tries: Rohan Janse van Rensburg (2), Andries Coetzee, Faf de Klerk, Franco Mostert, Malcolm Marx, Sylvian Mahuza, Courtnall Skosan
Conversions: Elton Jantjies (5), Ruan Combrinck (2)
Tries: James Hall, Stefan Watermeyer, Schalk Ferreira
Conversions: Louis Fouche (3)
15 Andriez Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Malcolm Marx
Substitutes: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Jacques van Rooyen, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Sylvian Mahuza
15 Malcolm Jaer, 14 Lukhanyo Am, 13 Stefan Watermeyer, 12 Shane Gates (vice-captain), 11 Wandile Mjekevu, 10 Louis Fouche, 9 James Hall, 8 Aidon Davis, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Andisa Ntsila, 5 JC Astle, 4 Schalk Oelofse, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Edgar Marutlulle (captain), 1 Sti Sithole.
Substitutes: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Schalk Ferreira, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Sintu Manjezi, 20 Jacques Engelbrecht, 21 Ntando Kebe, 22 Dewald Human, 23 Jeremy Ward