A hat-trick from Riaan Viljoen helped the Cheetahs to a comprehensive 53-19 Super Rugby victory over the Lions on Friday.
A hat-trick of tries from Riaan Viljoen helped the Cheetahs to an excellent 53-19 Super Rugby victory over the Lions at Coca-Cola Park on Friday.
This marked the second consecutive win for the men from Bloemfontein while their hosts will go on tour with seven straight losses behind them.
Although the scoreline may tell a different story, the defence of the Lions held up well in the opening stages of the match in Johannesburg.
Some frantic tackling denied the visitors from scoring on three occasions. But the Cheetahs showed maturity in taking the points when they were on offer and in Sias Ebersohn, they had a kicker who couldn't put a foot wrong all night.
The loss also marked the two-year anniversary of the last time the Lions managed to secure a Super Rugby win at their Coca-Cola Park home.
Unlike in their previous two contests, the Cheetahs showed they can be a solid defensive unit, which will be important in their next fixture against the Crusaders in Bloemfontein.
One of the standout players for the visitors was fly-half Ebersohn who kicked ten from ten.
Corne Uys also shone with two tries, and the other three came courtesy of full-back Viljoen.
Skipper Adriaan Strauss again led from the front and showed why he is being considered to play for the Springboks in the World Cup later this year.
Another form of encouragement for the national coach was that flanker Heinrich Brussow lifted his performance another notch which means he could be back to his best form heading into the global showpiece in September. He also came close to scoring.
The hosts did fight back in the last fifteen minutes of the match, but by then the Cheetahs had already sent on their replacements who had little more than defence practice to do.
Man-of-the-match: Several players stood out for the Cheetahs such as Heinrich Brussow and Sias Ebersohn but with three tries, the award must go to full-back Riaan Viljoen.
For the Lions:
Tries: Strauss, Rhodes, Bezuidenhou
Con: Francis 2
For the Cheetahs:
Tries: Uys, Viljeon 3, R Ebersohn
Con: S Ebersohn 4, Olivier
Pen: S Ebersohn 6
Lions: 15 Michael Killian, 14 Lionel Mapoe, 13 Dylan des Fontain, 12 Doppies La Grange (capt), 11 Deon van Rensburg, 10 Burton Francis, 9 Rory Kockott, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Joshua Strauss, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 David de Villiers, 4 Wikus van Heerden, 3 Kevin Buys, 2 Edgar Marutlulle, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Patric Cilliers, 18 Franco Van der Merwe, 19 Michael Rhodes, 20 Jano Vermaak, 21 Elton Jantjies, 22 Jaco Taute.
Cheetahs: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Philip Burger, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 CornÃ© Uys, 11 Riaan Smit, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Davon Raubenheimer, 7 Ashley Johnson, 6 Heinrich BrÃ¼ssow, 5 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 4 Francois Uys, 3 WP Nel, 2 Adriaan Strauss (capt), 1 Coenie Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Lourens Adriaanse, 18 Waltie Vermeulen, 19 Kabamba Floors, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Naas Olivier, 22 Hennie Daniller.
Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)