The Lions will be puzzled what happened in the second half despite their convincing 42-19 bonus point Super Rugby win over the Kings in Port Elizabeth on Saturday afternoon.
As great as their first half effort was in leading 35-12 at the break, so poor was the second half.
It became so bad, coach Johan Ackermann made use of a long line of substitutions, with scrumhalf Dillon Smit playing on the wing and fullback Andries Coetzee moving to flyhalf.
They also had two new props in Sti Sithole and Hencus van Wyk taking to the field, which didn’t do much to help their rhythm.
While the Lions scored six tries, the Kings answered with three of their own.
The visitors only secured their bonus point try as late as in the 75th minute, their first and only points of the half.
The error-ridden second half was no more evident than the normal reliable and ace centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg making himself guilty of several handling errors.
A few off-the-ball incidents were also noticeable with Kings players such as flank Chris Cloete, No 8 Ruan Lerm and tighthead Ross Geldenhuys getting under the skin of the Lions.
It was, however, due to the Lions putting the heat on the Kings in the scrums with Jacques van Rooyen giving Geldenhuys a tough time, while on the other side Ruan Dreyer got the better of Schalk van der Merwe.
After the great tempo of the first period the second half became more of an arm wrestle with the Kings scoring the first points three minutes after the break with a superb try by fullback Malcolm Jaer to reduce the visitors lead to 35-19.
But that’s the way the score remained until the Lions’ late score.
It was in total contrast with the intensity with which the Lions played in the first 40 minutes, something all rugby fans have become used to.
They were rocked early when the Kings scored the opener inside the first two minutes through flanker Andisa Ntsila after he charged down a kick from Lions fullback Andries Coetzee.
But the Lions quickly clicked into gear.
Two tries from wing Madosh Tambwe, the first a sitter from an intercept, two well-executed maul tries from hooker Malcolm Marx and flanker Jaco Kriel as well as a great try from Jantjies himself created a handy cushion for the Lions at the break.
The Kings hit back with their second try by wing Yaw Penxe, a late replacement for Makazole Mapimpi, after a great turnover by flank Chris Cloete put Tsila in possession again.
Point scorers: Lions – Tries: Madosh Tambwe (2), Malcolm Marx, Jaco Kriel, Elton Jantjies, Harold Vorster. Conversions: Jantjies (5), Andries Coetzee. Kings – Tries: Andisa Ntsila, Yaw Penxe, Malcolm Jaer. Conversions: Lionel Cronje (2).