The Blues handed the Lions a 55-10 hiding in a one-sided romp at Ellis Park.
It was a sublime display by the Kiwis who thrived in a very loose game. By the 32nd minute, the Blues had secured the bonus point for four tries. Trailing 3-31 at half-time, the Lions were dead and buried.
The hard running of the Blues needs to be acknowledged, but so too does the shocking Lions defence. The only defensive line to speak of was staggered, which allowed powerful steppers like Benson Stanley, Anthony Tuituvake and Isaia Toeava the extra space to work their magic.
Inside these runners was Nick Evans, who apart from his 25 points on the night enjoyed a flawless game with ball in hand. His distribution and decision-making was top-drawer, but once again his job was made easier by the weak Lions defence.
The Blues loosies were also in top form, with Jerome Kaino and Nick Williams carrying the ball strongly. The Lions made numerous handling errors which were either swooped on by the Blues or punished by the subsequent set-piece. The breakdown was hardly a contest as the Blues recycled with frightening speed that made the home defenders’ task all the more difficult.
The game did slow down in the second half, but the Lions attack still failed to make a significant impression. The sin-binning of Blues lock Kurtis Haiu failed to cost the visitors a single point, but rather garnered a further try through Williams.
The Blues did take their collective foot off the pedal, but never lost control. Evans goaled an easy penalty to extend the lead at a time when the Blues were looking for a break from the high-paced flow of the game. But two more scores through Rudi Wulf and Haiu saw the visitors finish with seven tries in all.
The Lions’ consolation try arrived in the 79th minute through replacement Jaco van Schalkwyk. Chris Jonck provided the extras to what was a good end to a forgettable game by the Johannesburg franchise.
Lions - Try: Jaco van Schalkwyk. Conversion: Chris Jonck. Penalty: Louis Strydom.
Blues – Try: Kurtis Haiu (2), Nick Evans, Jerome Kaino, Isa Nacewa, Nick Williams, Rudi Wulf. Conversions: Evans (7). Penalties: Evans (2).
By Jon Cardinelli