The Lions remain on course for a third successive Super Rugby final after booking a semi-final berth with a 40-23 win over the Jaguares in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Three first-half tries and 20 points from the boot of Elton Jantjies made it a comfortable victory for the only remaining South African franchise, who are attempting to ease the pain of back-to-back defeats in the decider.
The Jaguares, in their first play-off appearance, did threaten a comeback when Bautista Delguy and Pablo Matera both crossed in the space of six minutes at the start of the second half.
But a converted Andries Coetzee try pushed the hosts’ buffer back out to 11 points and their passage was all but secure with a Jantjies field goal, the 27-year-old later adding a third penalty for good measure.
Ruan Combrinck, Harold Vorster and Malcolm Marx had earlier set the South African Conference winners on their way with a try apiece in a blistering first 30 minutes.
The Lions’ success keeps alive the possibility of a repeat of last year’s final, when they lost 25-17 to the Crusaders.
First, however, comes a home semi-final against the Waratahs, the Australian side earning their place in the final four with a come-from-behind 30-23 defeat of the Highlanders.
— Emirates Lions (@LionsRugbyCo) July 21, 2018
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