The Golden Lions returned to winning ways in the Currie Cup on Friday as they thumped Boland Cavaliers 60-12 with a bonus-point at Ellis Park.
After a shock loss at Griquas last week, the reigning champions were hunting a response and certainly provided one in a nine-try triumph.
Selom Gavor (2), Anthony Volmink, Dillon Smit, Jacques Nel, Victor Sekekete, Howard Mnisi, JW Bell and Dylan Smith scored the tries.
Joubert Horn and Wayne Wilschut went over for the visitors and despite the gulf in class being evident, they never gave up in a spirited effort.
A 27-12 half-time scoreline was a fair reflection on the events as both sides played to their strengths in an entertaining opening period.
The Lions crossed four times – through Gavor, Volmink, Smit and Nel – and they were all impressive finishes but in reply Boland used their power game to claim scores via Horn and Wilschut. One sensed though that the result was only going to go in one direction after the break.
Gavor opened matters on five minutes when he reached over on the right wing, with fly-half Marnitz Boshoff converting the difficult extras.
The lead became 12 points nine minutes later as a lovely counter from full-back Andries Coetzee, who continued from his strong Super Rugby form, led to him finding wing Volmink for the finish on the left sideline. Boshoff could not slot these two points however so it was 12-0.
Boshoff was on-target on 24 minutes after hands in the ruck led to referee Rasta Rasivhenge blowing his whistle. The penalty made it 15-0.
But then came an unexpected score from the Cavaliers as lock Horn carried over from 12 metres out, taking a chunk out of the lead at 15-7.
The Golden Lions were rattled and three minutes later a lovely handling move involving impressive hooker Ramone Samuels and centre Mnisi led to scrum-half Smit scoring. Boshoff added the extras and the lead was back to 15 points for the home side on the half-hour mark.
There was more to come before the break though as a lineout drive saw Wilschut cross for Boland before the Lions showed yet again how much they want to play expansive rugby. With time up on the clock they set off for a beautifully worked long-range score that Nel finished off.
Five minutes after the break the Golden Lions crossed for their fifth try of the game, with their own lineout drive paying dividends when flanker Sekekete crossed. Boshoff added the conversion from wide on the left of the pitch and suddenly the advantage was up to 22 points.
Boland came close to wiping out that score on 52 minutes but Adriaan Carelse's offload to Horn would not stick with the line at his mercy.
And the Golden Lions made them pay, if in controversial fashion, when Gavol went over after Christopher Bosch appeared to have been pulled to ground off the ball which created space for the try. The hosts were not complaining as Boshoff sent over the extras for a 41-12 buffer.
They were over for their seventh try on 64 minutes when Volmink turned provider for centre Mnisi to run for the converted try and were denied an eighth through Ruan Ackermann for obstruction, this after replacement lock Bobby de Wee and Boland hooker Clemen Lewis were carded.
Bell had no such trouble with the officials when he crossed with four minutes remaining though to take the Golden Lions over 50 points before replacement Smith powered over to cap a comfortable victory for the hosts.
For Golden Lions:
Tries: Gavor 2, Volmink, Smit, Nel, Sekekete, Mnisi, Bell, Smith
Cons: Boshoff 6
Yellow card: De Wee (69 min – ruck offence)
Tries: Horn, Wilschut
Yellow card: Lewis (70 min – high tackle)
Golden Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Selom Gavor, 13 Jacques Nel, 12 Howard Mnisi (c), 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Dillon Smit, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Victor Sekekete, 6 Steph de Wit, 5 Martin Muller, 4 Ruan Ackermann, 3 Pieter Scholtz, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 Corne Fourie
Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Bobby de Wee, 19 Cyle Brink, 20 Ross Cronje, 21 Koch Marx, 22 JW Bell
Boland: 15 Adriaan Carelse, 14 Sergio Torrens, 13 Christopher Bosch, 12 Ryan Nel (c), 11 Danwel Demas, 10 Theuns Kotze, 9 Gerhard Jordaan, 8 Wayne Wilschut, 7 Shaun McDonald, 6 Shaun Adendorff, 5 Joubert Horn, 4 Hanno Kitshoff, 3 Basil Short, 2 Francois Esterhuizen, 1 Francois Hanekom
Replacements: 16 Clemen Lewis, 17 Enoch Mnyaka, 18 SP Wessels, 19 Ockie van Zyl, 20 Kenan Cronje, 21 Marnus Hugo, 22 Gerrit van Wyk
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant Referees: Archie Sehlako, Pieter Maritz
TMO: JJ du Wagner