Canberra – The Lions succumbed to a second successive defeat as the Brumbies surged to a 31-20 victory in Canberra on Saturday.
After suffering a heavy defeat against the Sharks last weekend, the Lions' playoff ambitions have taken another blow after this disappointing loss.
The failure to even pick up a losing bonus-point means that the Lions will remain in fourth place in the South African conference, while they will not be confident of turning their fortunes around in upcoming games against the Chiefs and Crusaders in New Zealand.
The first half was a stop-start affair, with the Lions, in particular, failing to find any real rhythm to their place despite scoring first through Aphiwe Dyantyi in the fifth minute.
From there, the Brumbies quickly began to work their way into the match, enjoying ascendancy both in terms of possession and territory.
Importantly for the hosts, No 8 Lachlan McCaffrey finished off a well-worked try just after the quarter-hour mark, and it marked a real momentum shift.
With the Lions missing as many as 15 tackles in the first half, the Brumbies soon made them pay as Toni Pulu and Tevita Kuridrani went over for two tries before the break to send their side into a commanding 19-8 lead.
In that context, it was always going to be essential for the Lions to strike first after half-time, and they did just that when Elton Jantjies pounced on a loose ball, and then displayed some delightful footwork to go over under the posts.
Yet, the Lions' defence continued to let them down, with Tom Banks and Tom Wright finishing off tries that came all too easily, while sending the Brumbies into a 31-15 lead heading into the final quarter.
Sylvian Mahuza would score a late consolation try for the Lions, but this was not a performance that they will want to remember.
Scorers: Brumbies 31 (19): Tries: Lachlan McCaffrey, Toni Pulu, Tevita Kuridrani, Tom Banks, Tom Wright. Conversions: Christian Lealiifano (3).
Lions 20 (8): Tries: Aphiwe Dyantyi, Elton Jantjies, Sylvian Mahuza. Conversion: Jantjies. Penalty: Jantjies.
African News Agency (ANA)