Johannesburg based Super Rugby franchise the Lions eased to a 54-10 bonus point victory over the Southern Kings despite playing for most of the match with 14 players.
The Kings lost two players to the sin-bin at different times so they spent 20 minutes of the match with one less player but the Lions spent 50 minutes of the match with a man less after Robbie Coetzee was red card for kneeing Chris Cloete in the head.
Even though the Lions did not have their full compliment of players for over half of the match they still outscored the Kings by six tries to one with flanker Kwagga Smith scoring a brace.
When Coetzee went off in the 31st minute the Lions were leading 12-3 after socirng two early tries but even though they had a player less the Lions went to score six further tries.
The result keeps the pressure on the Crusaders who have matches against the Highlanders and Hurricanes remaning. The Lions play the Sunwolves and Sharks in their remaining matches.
The Lions victory is their tenth consecutive victory and they trail the Crusaders by just three points.
The Lions were the first to score as lock Andries Ferreira and wing Courtnall Skosan opened the scoring.
Smith scored the first of his two tries while both teams were down a man following Cloete’s yellow and Coetzee’s red cards.
It was expected that as the Lions were a man down they might tire at the end but they continued to attack throughout the match and their final try came in extra time.
The second half started with a rolling maul try from replacement hooker Malcolm Marx after which the Lions turned on the style running in try after try.
The Kings first and only try came as the Lions were attacking and Kings centre Luzuko Vulindlu intercepted and raced for the line in the 60th minute.
The Lions answered that with two further tries from scrumhalf Faf de Klerk and after the siren fullback Andries Coetzee who finished off an almost 100m spell of attack.
The Lions and Kings take a break from Super Rugby now but return at the end of June when the Lions host the Sunwolves and the Kings travel to Buenos Aires to play the Jaguares.
Final Score Lions 54 (19) Southern Kings 10 (3)
Tries -A.Ferreira, C.Skosan, K.Smith 2, M.Marx, J.van Rooyen, A.Coetzee
Con – E. Jantjies 6, A.Coetzee
Cards -R.Coetzee (30th min red)
Tries -L. Vulindlu
Pen -P.de Wet
Cards – I.Herbst (9th min yellow), C.Cloete 30th min (yellow)
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant Ref 1:Egon Seconds
Assistant Ref 2:Ben Crouse
TMO :Christie du Preez
Jacques van Rooyen,Robbie Coetzee ,Ruan Dreyer, Andries Ferreira, Franco Mostert , Kwagga Smith, Ruan Ackermann, Warren Whiteley (c), Faf de Klerk, Elton Jantjies, Courtnall Skosan, Harold Vorster, Lionel Mapoe, Ruan Combrinck , Andries Coetzee
Replacements : Malcolm Marx, Johannes Jonker, Lourens Erasmus ,Jaco Kriel , Dillon Smit, Jacques Nel ,Anthony Volmink/Sylvian Mahuza
15. Malcolm Jaer , 14. Alshaun Bock, 13. Berton Klaasen, 12. Luzuko Vulindlu, 11. Makazole Mapimpi, 10. Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 9. Louis Schreuder (v/c), 8. Tyler Paul, 7. Stefan Willemse, 6. Chris Cloete, 5. Wilhelm van der Sluys, 4. Irne Herbst, 3. Ross Geldenhuys (c), 2. Martin Bezuidenhout, 1. Schalk van der Merwe,
Replacements : 16. Kurt Haupt, 17. Dayan van der Westhuizen, 18. Mzamo Majola, 19. Lubabalo Mtyanda, 20. Thembelani Bholi, 21. Stefan Ungerer, 22. Ntabeni Dukisa, 23. Nicolaas Hanekom