The Golden Lions delivered an outstanding display as they thrashed Western Province 58-32 with a high-energy demolition in Johannesburg.
As the scoreline suggests, this was a one-sided affair and the Golden Lions delivered a showing worthy of champions, outscoring their opponents by eight tries to four.
The result means the Lions move into fourth place – and into the play-off positions – in the standings while Western Province’s chances of reaching the tournament’s knockout stages are fast evaporating.
The men from the Cape were under the cosh for large periods and looked a shadow of the side which contested last year’s final as they committed a plethora of unforced errors on attack and defence.
The Lions made their intentions known from the outset and registered their opening try after just 30 seconds – Jacques Nel rounding off after the ball went through seven pairs of hands from the kick off.
Province replied with two penalties from Robert du Preez, which gave them a 6-5 lead but that would be the only time they be in front in this match as the Lions replied with two quick tries from Robbie and Andries Coetzee which gave them a 23-6 lead after 20 minutes.
The visitors struck back 10 minutes later via a Leolin Zas try, but the Lions continued to dominate and further five-pointers from JP du Preez and Rohan Janse van Rensburg gave them a commanding 37-13 lead at half-time.
The home side’s dominance continued after the interval and five minutes in to the half Anthony Volmink crossed for their fifth try after running onto a pass from Andries Coetzee close to the visitors’ try-line.
The visitors seemed shell-shocked and when Kwagga Smith crossed the whitewash for his side’s seventh try in the 55th minute this clash was over as a contest.
Province refused to give in though and struck back with tries from Jacques Vermeulen and Dewaldt Duvenhage, although the Lions’ dominance was still evident when Smith crossed for his second try in the 74th minute.
With time running out, the visitors continued to attack and secured their bonus point try shortly before full-time when Vermeulen barged over for his second five-pointer.
For Golden Lions:
Tries: Nel, R Coetzee, A Coetzee, Du Preez, Janse van Rensburg, Volmink, Smith 2
Cons: Van der Walt 6
Pens: Van der Walt 2
For Western Province:
Tries: Zas, Vermeulen 2, Duvenage
Cons: Du Preez 3
Pens: Du Preez 2
Golden Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Selom Gavor, 13 Jacques Nel, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Antony Volmink, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Ross Cronje (c), 8 Fabian Booysen, 7 Ruan Ackermann, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Lourens Erasmus, 4 JP du Preez, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Dylan Smith
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Andries Ferreira, 19 Cyle Brink, 20 Ruaan Lerm / Stef de Wit, 21 Ashlon Davids, 22 Howard Mnisi
Western Province: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Werner Kok, 13 EW Viljoen, 12 Johnny Kotze, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Kobus van Dyk, 7 Jurie van Vuuren, 6 Rynhardt Elstadt, 5 Chris van Zyl (c), 4 Jan de Klerk, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Mike Willemse, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg
Replacements: 16 Neil Rautenbach, 17 Alistair Vermaak, 18 JP Smith, 19 Jacques Vermeulen, 20 Eital Bredenkamp, 21 Dewaldt Duvenage, 22 Scott van Breda
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant Referees: Jaco van Heerden, Eduan Nel
TMO: Johan Greeff