The Lions ended a 22-year Super Rugby hoodoo, dismantling the Waratahs 0-29 at Allianz Stadium, Sydney.
The Lions had never won in Sydney before, and the Waratahs had never been held scoreless in Super Rugby, but there is a first time for everything.
The South Africans led a tight game at the break after flyer Madosh Tambwe crossed to give the Lions a seven-point lead.
New South Wales wilted after the break, conceding three more tries and never looking like scoring, themselves.
Kwagga Smith, Harold Vorster and Marnus Schoeman scored after the interval to give the Lions their biggest winning margin over the Waratahs.
The Lions have won seven on the bounce and 10 of their last 11 matches against Australian opposition with six wins coming down under.
Waratahs controlled the first quarter, dominating territory and possession.
The Lions, who only travelled on Tuesday and arrived in Sydney on Wednesday, did most of their preparation at home – in an attempt to beat the jet lag.
It looked like they were still on the plane, too.
Elton Jantjies missed two touch finders which kept the Lions under pressure.
Swys de Bruin’s side struggled to get the running game going and their handling was poor, something that would hamper the Joburgers for the entire game.
Malcolm Marx was carrying ball and Waratahs with him everywhere he went. The hooker is a power house, once running over the 123-kilogram Taqele Naiyaravoro.
From one of Marx’s bursts, the Lions struck.
Ross Cronje’s long floated pass was almost intercepted by Kurtley Beale.
But he misjudged the flight after rushing out of the line.
It gave the Lions a four on one overlap and they duly accepted the gift when Andries Coetzee drew Tom Robertson and sent Tambwe away.
The rest of the half was cagey; the visitors struggled to find their rhythm while the Tahs lacked creativity.
Waratahs wilt with a whimper.
The second stanza was all about the Lions dominating the Waratahs with their driving maul.
At the first opportunity, the visitors opted to kick a penalty into touch by the corner flag and set up a maul.
It was a brutal one at that.
Andries Ferreira took the throw and the Lions shifted quickly, catching the Waratahs off-guard.
Smith peeled around the right side and barged his way over the whitewash, beating Michael Hooper and Jake Gordon.
The Lions handling had been poor and it was through a dropped pass that they crossed for their third try.
It came from the Lions patiently going through the phases.
Some quick ball was sent wide and the Waratahs could not get across to defend the outside channel.
Lionel Mapoe dropped a pass backwards which Vorster gathered, beat Beale and stepped inside Michael Wells to score.
Waratahs fundamentals were shocking.
Daryl Gibson was not impressed; he’ll need to work on his team’s defence, especially at the driving maul and in midfield because his team were shipping tackles.
Hooper topped the missed tackle count with four, followed closely by Alex Newsome with three.
In the lead up to Vorster’s try, the Lions had 100 percent possession for nearly six minutes.
The Tahs just could not get their hands on the ball, and when they did, they lost it forward in the tackle.
The Waratahs set-pieces were in ruins, losing four of 10 lineouts and three of their six scrums.
It is unacceptable, especially against a side that has played in the past two Super Rugby finals.
Jantjies had a chance to extend the lead to four scores with an easy kick in front of the posts, however, his skipper Franco Mostert decided on a scrum.
What he was thinking with the bonus-point already secured, is anyone’s guess. The Lions proceeded to turn the ball over and concede a penalty, releasing the pressure.
There was still 25 minutes to play.
The Lions had nullified and neutralised Naiyaravoro.
The flyer had recorded back-to-back games with over 200 run-metres, but he was held to just 28 on eight carries and did not score a try nevermind a brace.
Another measly run was halted by a great tackle around the wing’s ankles by Nicholas Groom, and consequently, a penalty won.
With less than nine minutes remaining, the Lions did opt for the points, although this time from a more difficult position of the field. Jantjies made no mistake; 0-22
The Waratahs heads had dropped with the thought of needing four scores to win the game.
The Lions had out-thought their hosts for Smith’s try from the driving maul and they did it again.
They set up another maul, Schoeman secured the ball, peeled right and drove through a massive hole, bounced Newsome and scored.
Hooper was at fault, taking the wrong man on his outside when he should have covered the fringe of the maul.
It did not matter, the Lions had won a famous victory and left the field to the beautiful sound of the home fans jeering their team.
Final score: Waratahs 0 (0) Lions 29 (7)
Tries – Tambwe, Smith, Vorster, Schoeman
Pen – Jantjies
Con – Jantjies (3)
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 1: Damon Murphy
Assistant Ref 2: Graham Cooper
TMO: George Ayoub
15 Bryce Hegarty, 14 Alex Newsome, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Jake Gordon, 8 Michael Wells, 7 Michael Hooper (Captain), 6 Ned Hanigan, 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Tom Staniforth, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Damien Fitzpatrick, 1 Tom Robertson.
Replacements: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Harry Johnson-Holmes, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Nick Palmer, 20 Jed Holloway, 21 Will Miller, 22 Nick Phipps, 23 Lalakai Foketi
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Madosh Tambwe, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Dillon Smit, 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Francois Mostert (captain), 6 Albertus Smith, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Nicholas Groom, 22 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 23 Sylvian Mahuza.