It was the first Super Rugby game to be played on a Sunday in
The home team scored some scintillating tries as they made it 10 wins on the trot since suffering their only defeat in the competition, against the Jaguares in Buenos Aires, in round three.
The Lions were made to work hard for their victory as the gutsy and much-improved Kings, who had recently beaten the Waratahs, Rebels and Sharks, gave as good as they got from the South African pace-setters.
In the end, though, the home team’s class and experience got them comfortably across the line.
Johan Ackermann’s men – or rather those who won’t be involved with the Springboks and SA ‘A’ sides in June – can now put their feet up while the competition takes a break, knowing they are well placed to feature in the knockout rounds from the middle of July.
The Lions ended up running in eight tries to the Kings’ solitary five-pointer in the second half, and that after being forced to play for 50 minutes with 14 men.
Hooker Robbie Coetzee was red-carded on the half-hour mark after striking Kings flank Chris Cloete with his knee.
Cloete was also penalised for pushing Warren Whiteley in the face earlier in the move, but his was only a yellow card, the second for his team after lock Irné Herbst had also been carded in the eighth minute.
Repeated infringing by the Kings at the lineout led to referee Jaco Peyper sending Herbst to the cooler, but eventually the Lions would breach the defences and open their account through hooker Coetzee.
He was followed on to the try-scorers’ sheet by Courtnall Skosan, who rounded off after taking a pass by Whiteley on the touchline, after the skipper had done brilliantly to collect a cross-field kick by Elton Jantjies and feed his wing.
Then, on the stroke of halftime, flank Kwagga Smith would score the first of his two tries, when he showed great pace and stepping ability to leave Malcolm Jaer for dead.
It came after a bizarre passage of play after Ntabeni Dukisa intercepted the ball inside his own 22m area and with the Lions on the attack, but just when it looked like he’d have enough pace to go all the way and score, he was caught from behind by Skosan. The Lions snapped up the loose ball and countered, ending with Smith going over.
Malcolm Marx and Jacques van Rooyen got their names on the try-scorers’ sheet soon after the restart and then Smith would score his second, and arguably the best, try of the match.
From deep in their own half, the home team broke the defensive line through Marx, who powered his way upfield at a rate of knots and offloaded to Andries Coetzee, who found Smith and the flank simply had to dot down in the corner.
Scrumhalf Faf de Klerk and fullback Andries Coetzee rubbed salt into the Kings’ wounds late on with further tries, both coming after wonderful sweeping moves from deep in Lions territory, the home team’s handling, running lines and support play a joy to behold.
When the Lions return to Super Rugby action in July, they will host the Sunwolves and then finish their round-robin fixture list with an outing against the Sharks in
Lions 54 – Tries: Andries Ferreira, Courtnall Skosan, Kwagga Smith (2), Malcolm Marx, Jacques van Rooyen, Faf de Klerk, Andries Coetzee. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (5), Andries Coetzee (2).
Kings 10 – Try: Luzuko Vulindlu. Conversion: Pieter-Steyn de Wet (1). Penalty: De Wet (1).Independent Media