The Lions eased to a 39-22 Super Rugby victory over South African rivals the Cheetahs in Johannesburg.
The Lions outscored the Cheetahs by five tries to three so under the bonus point rules they only earn four points from the victory.
The Lions did the damage in the match in the first half as they went to a 24-3 lead which left a mountain for the Cheetahs to climb.
The Cheetahs looked impressive from the outset as they imposed themselves straight after the kick-off, but the Lions’ defence stood firm and conceded a lone penalty in the 10th minute when the Free State flyhalf Niel Marais was on target.
The early setback merely served as a wake-up for the Lions and over the rest of the half they scored three answered tries, all of which were converted by their pivot Elton Jantjies, who added a penalty 25th penalty as well for a personal first-half haul of 14 points.
The Lions’ try-scorers were Jantjies (18th min), Francois de Klerk (26th) and Howard Mnisi (37th).
Towards the end of the first half, the Cheetahs made inroads into the Lions’ 22m territory with their fullback Clayton Blommetjies showing the way but they lacked the cohesion to find a way past the opposition defence.
Moments after the restart, Ruan Ackermann barged over the Lions’ fourth try and the prospect of a bonus-point win loomed large.
However, the Cheetahs applied pressure for sustained spells and were rewarded with three tries, but the effort was too late to threaten the Lions’ commanding lead.
The Cheetahs’ tries were scored by Sergeal Petersen (47th), Tian Meyer (67th) and Jacques Du Toit (77th).
Right at the death, Corne Fourie rounded off the scoring with the Lions’ fifth try of the match.
Next week the Lions have a bye while the Cheetahs are at home in Bloemfontein where they will host the Brumbies.
Final Score Lions 39 (24) Cheetahs 22 (3)
Tries – E.Jantjies, F.de Klerk, H.Mnisi, R. Ackermann, C.Fourie
Pen – E.Jantjies 2
Con – R.Combrinck, E,Jantjies 3
Cards -R.Janse van Rensburg (71st min yellow)
Tries – S.Petersen, T.Meyer, J.du Toit
Pen – N.Marais
Con – N.Marais
Attendance : 14800
Referee: Stuart Berry
Assistant Ref 1:Glen Jackson
Assistant Ref 2:Rasta Rasivhenge
TMO :Johan Greeff
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (c), 7 Ruan Ackermann, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylan Smith.
Replacements : 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Corné Fourie, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Dillon Smit, 22 Jaco van der Walt, 23 Rohan Janse van Rensburg.
1. Charles Marais, 2. Torsten van Jaarsveld, 3. Maks van Dyk, 4. Carl Wegner, 5. Lodewyk de Jager (vc), 6. Paul Schoeman, 7. Uzair Cassiem, 8. Henco Venter, 9. Shaun Venter, 10. Neil Marais, 11. Raymond Rhule, 12. William Small-Smith, 13. Francois Venter (C), 14. Sergeal Petersen, 15. Clayton Blommetjies
Replacements: 16. Jacques du Toit, 17. Ox Nche, 18. Johan Coetzee, 19. Francois Uys, 20. Hilton Lobberts, 21. Boom Prinsloo, 22. Tian Meyer, 23. Fred Zeilinga