The Xerox Golden Lions produced a brilliant display of rugby as they crushed DHL Western Province 58-32 (haltime 37-13) in a Currie Cup Premier Division clash at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburgon Friday evening.
The Lions had secured their four-try bonus-point in the first half before grabbing a fifth try on the stroke of halftime. Western Province struggled in the lineouts as Michael Willemse, recalled from the EP Kings, and replacement hooker, Neil Rautenbach, struggled to find their jumpers.
The scrums were a disaster as well for the visitors as props Dylan Smith and Ruan Dreyer and hooker Robbie Coetzee, won the front-row battle against JC Janse van Rensburg, Wilco Louw and Willemse.
The hosts needed just 35s to open the scoring as centre Jacques Nel started a move from inside his own 22m area, and finished off with an unconverted try that saw some brilliant offloads and pop-passes. Province flyhalf Robert du Preez then slotted two penalties to give Province the lead after the visitors settled down and gained some territorial advantage but the home side struck back with a vengence.
The hosts scored two quick tries through Coetzee and his namesake at fullback Andries Coetzee while flyhalf Jaco van der Walt landed two penalties and a conversion to give the Lions a comfortable 23-6 lead halfway through the first period.
Leolin Zas then produced some magic for WP, as the diminutive left wing received the ball out wide, chipped right wing Selom Gavor, collected and scored a converted try to leave the visitors 10 points adrift with six minutes remaining in the half.
But the celebration was short lived as the Lions ran in two more tries before referee Jaco Peyper blew the halftime whistle. The sky-scraping lock, JP du Preez barged over close to the line before debutante centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg waltzed over the line after Coetzee broke away from inside his own 22m area.
The second stanza started much the same way as the first ended as the Lions brought up the half-century mark with another two scores through left wing Anthony Volmink after Province knocked the ball on inside their own 22m area and then flanker Kwagga Smith sprinted away from the Province defenders, side-stepped centre Johnny Kotze to score his first try of the night.
Province fought back with two tries of their own with the game already out of sight. Replacements Jacques Vermeulen, who replaced a concussed Rynhardt Elstadt, and old boy Dewaldt Duvenage, who returned from France. Vermeulen managed to find a gap in the tenacious Lions defense to score his first try and the Duvenage dived over the line after picking up from the base of the ruck.
The home side were not finished and Smith landed his second five-pointer after Province again erred inside their own 22m from the kick-off, giving the Lions a penalty. Van der Walt kicked to the corner and Smith scored from the lineout. Province though fought to the end to secure their four-try bonus point as Vermeulen scored on the sound of the hooter.
Xerox Golden Lions – Tries: Kwagga Smith (2), Jacques Nel, Robbie Coetzee, Andries Coetzee, JP du Preez, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Anthony Volmink; Conversions: Jaco van der Walt (6); Penalties: Van der Walt (2).
DHL Western Province – Tries: Jacques Vermeulen (2), Leolin Zas, Dewaldt Duvenage; Conversions: Robert du Preez (3); Penalties: Du Preez (2).