The Lions thrashed the Reds 44-14 in a seven-try rout at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.
Courtnall Skosan scored four tries as the Reds, who played most of the game with 14 men, crumbled in the City of Gold.
Quade Cooper was sent off for a high tackle on Rohan Janse van Rensburg early in the second half, only moments after Eto Nabuli was yellow carded for cynical play.
The Lions took a 15-0 lead into the break. Tries from Skosan and Jaco Kriel, on the stroke of halftime, gave the hosts some breathing room. But
But Skosan’s second half hat-trick piled on the pain on the visitors, who have now lost their last 10 games on the road, going back to last season.
The two cards were costly to the Queenslanders. The Lions ran riot, scoring five tries to two in the second half, to win by 30 points.
The match was slow to ignite, with both teams failing to use the ball well, until the 18th minute when Skosan got his first.
Elton Jantjies took a flat pass, popped to Janse van Rensburg who beat Karmichael Hunt’s cover tackle and ghosted through the gap. The flyhalf drew Cooper and released the winger to score. Jantjies added the two.
Jaco Kriel scored after taking Warren Whiteley’s pop-pass, on the stroke of halftime as the Lions led 15-0.
The game turned with the two cards and the Reds soon crumbled in the face of the Lions’ numerical advantage.
The pressure told. Malcolm Marx scored in the corner after Janse van Rensburg’s try and Cooper’s dismissal. Jantjies was struggling with his radar; 25-0 after 50 minutes.
The altitude in the highveld is always a factor for visiting teams. The Reds wilted as Skosan scored two in quick succession. One, a simple run in with an overlap. the hat-trick,
The hat-trick, after the winger won the ball and chased his kick, regathered, beat the cover defence and went over to push the score to 39-0.
The Reds, eventually, did score. Duncan Paia’Aua scored on 69 minutes and replacement prop, Taniela Tupou, with three minutes remaining.
Skosan got his fourth, prior to the that, and the Lions had a 30 point victory in front of a happy home crowd. The Reds, well, they were just glad it was over.
The final score is Lions 44 (15) Reds 14 (0)
Tries – Skosan (4), Kriel, Janse van Rensburg, Marx
Pen – Jantjies
Con – Jantjies (2), Coetzee
Tries – Paia’Aua, Tupou
Con – McIntyre (2)
Cards – Yellow (Nabuli, 43rd minute) Red (Cooper, 45th minute)
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 1: Jamie Nutbrown
Assistant Ref 2: Stuart Berry
TMO: Willie Vos
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Ruan Ackermann, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Albertus Smith, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Jaco van der Walt, 23 Harold Vorster.
15 Karmichael Hunt, 14 Izaia Perese, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Duncan Paia’aua, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 George Smith, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Andrew Ready, 1 James Slipper (captain).
Replacements: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 Markus Vanzati, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Lukhan Tui, 20 Adam Korczyk, 21 James Tuttle, 22 Jake McIntyre, 23 Chris Kuridrani.