One would seldom see a better opening 40 minutes than the one dished up by the Lions in their crushing 51-14 Super Rugby win over the Bulls at Ellis Park on Saturday evening.
Granted, these are troubled times for the Bulls but the Lions were excellent, running in five excellent opening half tries on their way to a halftime lead of 39-14.
The second half didn’t quite match up to the first but it didn’t detract from the one-sidedness of the contest.
Who was the star in this match?
It could have easily gone to either lock Franco Mostert, wing Ruan Combrinck or flank Kwagga Smit but flyhalf Elton Jantjies was superb in the way he confused the Bulls defence by adding delightful variety in his play. His ability to make the right decisions and identify space was special.
Key themes and events
- Hardly two minutes were gone on the clock when the Lions scored their first try through the returning Combrinck, who was a late addition to the side after Sylvian Mahuza pulled up with a quad strain. The way he chipped and chased before collecting showed he’s lost none of his class.
- The Bulls scored two good tries of their own in the first half by centre Jan Serfontein and fullback Jesse Kriel. It showed the men from Pretoria’s ability to deliver nice attacking play but they simply aren’t cohesive enough to keep up the pressure and still make far too many basic mistakes.
- Prop tries don’t come better than the one scored by the Lions tighthead Ruan Dreyer in the 25th minute after he collected a pass from Mostert, who made a midfield break that would be the envy of any centre.
- The Lions surprisingly went back in the first two scrums but after that they dominated. Their physical approach to the game also ensured they ruled in the possession and territory stakes. It was, in general, a polished performance.
Lions – Tries: Ruan Combrinck (2), Kwagga Smith, Ruan Dreyer, Warren Whiteley, Franco Mostert, Lionel Mapoe. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (5). Penalties: Jantjies (2).
Bulls – Tries: Jan Serfontein, Jesse Kriel. Conversions: Francois Brummer (2).