Not only was the eight-try romp their record seventh win, but also their biggest point tally since going down 72-65 to the Chiefs in 2010 and their biggest win as an independent franchise since 2006.
When hooker Robbie Coetzee crashed over 12 minutes after the break for the Lions’ bonus point try for a 34-20 lead, it was all over for the Cheetahs whose defence again cost them dearly.
For lock Franco van der Merwe it was a dream end to his Lions career in his 99th game.
“The guys showed a lot of guts in keeping the intensity up in the second half. We just had to keep ball in hand after an encouraging first half display,” said Van der Merwe.
While the Lions demolished the Cheetahs at scrum-time, the visitors’ ill-discipline saw them being yellow-carded three times by referee Marius van der Westhuizen.
And even though he got a card himself, flyhalf Elton Jantjies had a dream 50th game scoring 20 points, while wing Lionel Mapoe celebrated the same milestone with a sensational hat-trick. Jantjies now heads to Japan before returning for next year’s competition.
Lions coach Johan Ackermann devoted the team’s win to hard work and describes it as one of the best wins in his coaching career.
“I think we started off a bit slow, but then got going in the next 20 minutes,” he said. “It was a good way of ending our season by winning the last two matches which augers well for an improved showing in next year’s tournament.”
The Lions will now enjoy a break, with the players being given time off before they start preparing for their Absa Currie Cup opener on August 9 when the Lions will host the Blue Bulls.