Rampant Lions maul Pumas

An emphatic 89-10 win over the Pumas means the Lions now brace themselves for a nervous wait to see if those mythical rugby deities will smile on them.

Loffie Elloff’s side where ruthless in their execution and ran in thirteen tries against a hapless Pumas.

The five points elevates the Lions to third on the Absa Currie Cup log, albeit temporarily, and the glimmer of hope of making the semi-final still flickers for weakly for them.

They confined their hosts to their fourteenth consecutive loss of the season with a clinical display of attacking rugby and fine opportunism.

Pre-match predictions suggested that the early exchanges would be dominated by the forwards but that proved inaccurate as the Lions showed a penchant for free-flowing, ball-in-hand rugby.

The opening try was fittingly scored by wing John Daniels, who became the Currie Cup’s all-time leading try scorer when he collected an Earl Rose grubber, following a move which had started on the Lions 22m line. Daniels’ 66th career try was converted by Andre Pretorius, stretching the lead to four points, a Jeandré Fourie penalty opening the scoring for the hosts.

The Lions quest for the full haul of points meant Wickus van Heerden opted for the scrum or lineout when penalties were very kickable. A period of sustained pressure from the Lions in which they set up eight phases, yielded a penalty try after repeated infringements at the breakdown by the Pumas.

A cocktail of missed tackles and concentration lapses by the home side and clinical backline play, with Andre Pretorius as their catalyst, meant the game was effectively over long before Tappe Henning ended the half.

The Lions scored five more tries in 25minutes, the pick of those, a long range effort which was birthed from a turnover on their five-metre line.

The mercurial Jaco Pretorius yet again stunned the opposition into paralysis with a lighting break down the left touchline before dishing inside to Grant Esterhuizen.

Andre Pretorius assumed the role of puppet-master with the Pumas defensive line his puppets. He crafted the majority of the play and mesmerised the defence with his unpredictability and tracer-bullet-like passing.

The Springbok pivot created a brace of tries for strike-runners on his outside as the Pumas conceded the record amount of points in a single game this season.

Daniels capped his final match for the Johannesburg outfit with a 55th minute hattrick, before Andre Pretorius floated a perfectly timed pass into the hands of substitute Thobela Mgaka, who ran a perfect line to seethe through the Puma defence.

The Pretorius duo produced a carbon-copy of a try scored against Vodacom Western Province a week ago, as Andre deftly grubbered through for Jaco to make it 68-3.

No player deserved to get their name on the scoreboard more than Andre Pretorius, and he nearly did after he broke the defensive line and set off on a 50-metre run, which ended in him handing Esterhuizen his second try when he realised he didn’t have the legs to touch down himself.

A late Pietie Ferreira try, his second, drove the wedge further in the heart of Danie Gerber’s team, and even a consolation score by Corné Steenkamp couldn’t mask he fact that this season had been an absolute blowout for the Witbank-based side.

The Lions now wait anxiously for tomorrow’s games to conclude and can only hope that their dire early season form will not cost them a play-off berth.

By Ryan Vrede

Scorers

Pumas
Tries:Corné Steenkamp
Conversions:Jeandré Fourie
Penalties:Jeandré Fourie

Lions
Tries:John Daniels (3),Penalty try, Grant Esterhuizen (2), Pietie Ferreira (2), Earl Rose, Doppies la Grange,Thobela Mdaka, Jaco Pretorius, Lawrence Sephaka
Conversions: Andre Pretorius (12)