JOHANNESBURG – Defending champions Western Province announced themselves as the hot favourites to again lift the Currie Cup trophy later this season when they scored nine tries in easily brushing aside the hitherto unbeaten Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday afternoon.
It was the third win in a row for John Dobson and his charges, who have now beaten the Cheetahs – who they kept scoreless – and the Pumas and Lions away from home.
The defeat was the first this season for the Lions in the competition after they had previously beaten the Griquas, Bulls and Cheetahs.
Dobson’s men were sensational with ball-in-hand, but the foundation was laid upfront, where the visitors outmuscled and powered their way past their hosts.
Their loose forwards were especially impressive and it allowed the likes of Dan Kriel, Ruhan Nel, Sergeal Petersen and especially Dillyn Leyds to run amok at the back.
Leyds' dazzling runs saw him score two tries, while Petersen also helped himself to a brace.
The Lions, with several young players in the mix, were rocked in the first minute when Leyds crossed for the first time and by half-time they were already 39-10 behind.
There was no coming back from being so far behind for Marvin Orie and his men, who were outplayed by a faster, more skilful and more determined team on the day.
It was a rare win on the highveld for the men from Cape Town, who have suffered some big defeats at Ellis Park in the recent past - in both the Currie Cup and Super Rugby.
Defence, as has been the norm this season, wasn’t high on the agenda, with a total of 103 points being scored over the 80 minutes.
Not even being reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes, when flank Kobus van Dyk was sin-binned for collapsing a driving maul - could stop the Province machine, who are now the heavy favourites to go all the way this season.
As things stand, the Bulls lead the way in the standings but have played five games, with the Lions second (four games) and the Sharks and Western Province are jointly third, after playing three games each.
The Lions are next up against the Sharks in Durban this coming weekend, while Western Province are at home against the Griquas.
Lions 38 – Tries: James Venter, Penalty Try, Pieter Jansen, Hacjivah Dayimani, Len Massyn. Conversions: Shaun Reynolds (4). Penalty: Reynolds (1).
WP 65 – Tries: Dillyn Leyds (2), Sergeal Petersen (2), Josh Stander, SP Marais, Juarno Augustus, JC Schickerling, Dan du Plessis. Conversions: Marais (7). Penalties: Marais (2).