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The Johannesburg based Lions earned a 10-45 bonus point Super Rugby victory over the Southern Kings at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
The two sides had never met before in Super Rugby but had played each other in a series of promotion relegation matches in 2013.
The Lions outscored the Southern Kings by seven tries to two in the match so the Johannesburg side earn a bonus point from the match.
Armand van der Merwe and Ruan Combrinck both scored two tries each but Combrinck was also named man of the match.
The Lions controlled the game throughout the clash and were good value for their win. They led 21-5 at half time thanks to a three-one try score line.
The Lions were clear favourites heading to the encounter and they thought they had the early lead as early as the sixth minute when Ruan Combrink went over the whitewash, but the TMO found that Franco Mostert had lost the ball forward moments earlier.
The Lions had started the brighter of the two sides and continued their relentless pressure on the Kings, but had to wait until the half-way mark of the first half for their first try.
Great hands by Courtnall Skosan unleashed his captain, Warren Whiteley who exploited the space on the left and sprinted through to score under the posts. Flyhalf Elton Jantjies extended their lead with a simple conversion.
CJ Velleman was then caught offside and Louis Fouche had the first chance to put the Kings on the scoreboard but swirling wind saw his kick fly wide of the posts.
Fouche then missed his second penalty of the game on the half hour mark but just moments later the Kings finally got their first points of the game. Luzuko Vulindlu reacted well to a little kick over the top by James Hall and dashed over the line.
Fouche again failed with his right boot and the conversion opportunity went to waste.
Minutes later the Lions took control of the game once again when Whiteley smartly opted to use the blindside, found Jantjies who then turned the ball on for Skosan who made no mistake as he sped over for his side’s second try.
The burly, Armand van der Merwe then got in on the act. The big front-rower powered over the line after good initial work by Lionel Mapoe.
Johan Ackerman’s team began the second half with the same level of intensity as the first 40 minutes.
Seconds after the restart, Jaco van der Walt showed great hands to find Combrink who injected an explosion of pace to register try number four for the away side.
The Kings were hapless as the Lions started to shift gears. A driving maul after a line-out five metres from the Kings line saw Van der Merwe barge over for his second try of the game.
While their defence continued to be breached, the Kings refused to give up on attack. Five minutes short of the hour mark and a sublime pass by Malcolm Jaer setup Chris Cloete who bulldozed through Jantjies to score his third try of the campaign.
Fouche who was already enduring a nightmare with the boot again failed to convert.
The Lions struck back immediately. Mostert, Jantjies and Whiteley then combined well to shift the ball out wide to Combrink who made no mistake and powered over for the second time in the game.
Former SA under-20 man, Rohan Janse van Rensburg rounded the scoring off for the Lions as he went over thanks to clever play by Jantjies.
Next week the Lions host last year’s Super Rugby finalists the Hurricanes in Johannesburg while the Southern Kings fly to Argentina to play fellow expansion side the Jaguares.
Final Score Southern Kings 10 (5) Lions 45 (21)
Tries – L.Vulindlu, C.Cloete
Cards -T.Bholi (yellow 36th min)
Tries -W.Whiteley, C.Skosan , A.van der Merwe 2, R.Combrinck 2, R. Janse van Rensburg
Con – E.Jantjies 5
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant Ref 1:Jaco van Heerden
Assistant Ref 2:AJ Jacobs
TMO :Christie du Preez
15. Malcolm Jaer , 14. Luzuko Vulindlu , 13. Lukhanyo Am , 12. Shane Gates , 11. JP du Plessis , 10. Louis Fouche , 09. James Hall , 08. CJ Velleman , 07. Thembelani Bholi , 06. Chris Cloete , 05. Steven Sykes (C) , 04. Schalk Oelofse , 03. Jacobie Adriaanse , 02. Martin Ferreira , 01. Schalk Ferreira
Replacements: 16. Martin Bezuidenhoudt , 17. Tom Botha , 18. Justin Ackerman , 19. JC Astle , 20. Jacques Engelbrecht , 21. Ntando Kebe , 22. Stefan Watermeyer , 23. Leighton Eksteen
15 Jaco van der Walt, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (C), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Cyle Brink, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Armand van der Merwe, 1 Corne Fourie
Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Jacques van Rooyen, 19 Ruan Ackermann, 20 Jaco Kriel, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 JW Bell, 23 Rohan Janse van Rensburg
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