Lions thrashed the Waratahs 55-36 in a pulsating 13-try exhibition at Emirates Airlines Stadium in Johannesburg.
This was Super Rugby at its best: you score, we score. There were eight tries in the first half alone, as the teams went in at the break 33-24.
Rohan Janse van Rensburg scored his second brace in two weeks, while Elton Jantjies, had a great day with the boot, kicking 15 points as the Lions earned a bonus-point victory.
The Tahs didn’t help themselves with two yellow cards in the first half. It was end-to-end as the teams shared scores with six-tries inside 24 minutes.
The Lions scored through captain Warren Whiteley, Ruan Ackermann, Janse van Rensburg and Andries Coetzee and Ross Cronje in the first 40.
While tries from Rob Horne and Michael Hooper and a penalty from Robinson kept the Tahs within nine points of their hosts.
The Waratahs couldn’t get going in the second half. Two tries from David McDuling and Israel Folau on the hooter was not even consolation, in the eight-try to five mauling.
The Lions were dominant in the scrum and line-out, scoring four of their first five tries from the set-piece. Conversely, the Waratahs were not.
After some sustained pressure on the Waratahs’ set-piece, Whiteley opened the scoring when a second driving-maul was illegally pulled down and the captain crashed over from close range.
Horne scored almost immediately after receiving Andrew Kellaway’s pass to send him away. Robinson’s conversion levelled the scores at 7-all.
Ackermann barged over from another driving-maul to give the Lions to re-establish the lead. The visitors came back, scoring through Hooper, after a dart by Nick Phipps at a ruck put the captain away. Robinson levelled, again.
It was around this point where the Lions started to get away; three tries in 14 minutes, effectively, ended the game as a contest.
The initial break from Whiteley to get over the gain-line near midfield saw Janse van Rensburg score his first, in a midfield loop-move with Jantjies.
Coetzee scored the fourth soon after and Jantjies’ conversion, gave his team a two-goal cushion.
New South Wales would not lie down. Hegarty collected his own chip-kick for his teams third try. Robinson added his second conversion to an earlier penalty; 28-17.
Sekopi Kepu was then sent to the bin after a fourth cynical infringement for collapsing the maul. The Lions opted for a scrum, got a good right shoulder and Cronje went in from close range.
New South Wales would not lie down. Hegarty collected his own chip-kick for his teams third try. Robinson added his second conversion to an earlier penalty for a nine-point deficit at the break.
The Lions kept their noses in front, outscoring the Tahs three tries to two in the second half as they ran away for a 19-point victory.
Janse van Rensberg got his second, after the break. The 22-year-old broke to tackles was involved in a a give-and-go with Jaco Kriel, to extend the Lions’ lead to 21 points.
Franco Mostert was yellow-carded for a ruck infringement and McDuling scored after the Waratahs opted for a scrum; 43-29 to give his team hope of a comeback.
It was not to be. Tries from Sylvian Mahuza and Malcom Marx ended any Australian hopes, despite Israel Folau’s try after the hooter.
Next week in Round 3 the Lions travel to Buenos Aires to play the Jaguares while the Waratahs play the Sharks in Durban.
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Final Score Lions 55 (33) Waratahs 29 (24)
Tries – Whiteley, Ackermann, Janse van Rensburg (2), Coetzee, Cronje, Mahuza, Marx
Con – Jantjies (6)
Drop – Jantjies
Cards – Mostert (Yellow, 57th minute)
Tries – Horne, Hooper, Hegarty, McDuling, Folau
Pen – Robinson
Con – Robinson (4), Hegarty (1)
Cards – (2) Robinson (Yellow, 10th minute), Kepu (Yellow, 31st minute)
Referee: Jaco van Heerden
Assistant Ref 1:Quinton Immelman
Assistant Ref 2: Stuart Berry
TMO :Johan Greeff
Jacques v Rooyen,2. Robbie Coetzee,3. Ruan Dreyer,4. Andries Ferreira,5. Franco Mostert,6. Jaco Kriel,7. Ruan Ackermann,8. Warren Whiteley ©,9. Ross Cronje,10. Elton Jantjies,11. Courtnall Skosan,12. Rohan Janse van Rensburg,13. Harold Vorster,14. Lionel Mapoe,15. Andries Coetzee
Replacements : Malcolm Marx,17. Dylan Smith,18. Johannes Jonker,19. Lourens Erasmus,20. Kwagga Smith,21. Faf de Klerk,22. Sylvian Mahuza,23. Jaco vd Walt
15 Andrew Kellaway 14 Reece Robinson, 13 Israel Folau, 12 Irae Simone, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Matt Lucas, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Jack Dempsey, 5 Senio Toleafoa , 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tolu Latu, 1 Tom Robertson
Replacements: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Paddy Ryan, 18 David Lolohea, 19 David McDuling, 20 AN Other, 21 AN Other, 22 David Horwitz, 23 Taqele Naiyaravoro