Comfortable victory for Lions
A dominant first half display from the Lions guided the home side to a 42-12 win over Western Province in a Lions Challenge encounter at Ellis Park, in Johannesburg, on Friday evening.
Touchdowns from Ruan Combrinck (2), Stokkies Hanekom (2), Derick Minnie and Gavin Annandale sealed victory for the Lions, outscoring their visitors six tries to two.
The Johannesburg outfit is preparing for its promotion/relegation playoff fixture against the lowest ranked South African side in this year's Vodacom Super Rugby competition in July.
WP called up the Stormers' trio of Scarra Ntubeni, scrumhalf Nic Groom and prop Chris Heiberg in their squad, so the players could earn some much needed game time.
Ntubeni has missed most of the season due to injury, and Groom has fallen out of favour with the Stormers' management following a string of disappointing performances.
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The hosts got off to the best possible start when Combrinck was put through by the Lions backline, before dotting down inside the opening three minutes. Marnitz Boshoff added two points from the conversion.
Having gained the early advantage, the Lions had to wait 20 minutes before doubling their lead through Hanekom, before Boshoff converted, putting the home side 14 points ahead before the halftime break.
Hanekom scored his second of the night four minutes later, after a promising WP attack ended in Hanekom sprinting home from inside his own 22 metre area.
WP conceded their fourth try shortly after, as Combrinck went over for his second, which Boshoff coolly converted to keep his 100 per cent record intact as the game approached the interval.
The visitors started where they had left off in the opening period, as Dillyn Leyds ran over for WP's second, which flyhalf Tim Swiel converted for his first successful attempt at goal.
WP maintained the pressure, but 11 minutes from time, the Lions stretched their lead to 23. Flank Derick Minnie waltzed past the WP defence and trotted over for the home side's fifth try under the posts.
Gavin Annandale was next to dot down for the Lions, after the second half replacement picked up a loose ball behind a ruck on the WP tryline and crashed over for five points shortly before the fulltime whistle.
Lions 42 (28) : Tries: Ruan Combrinck (2), Stokkies Hanekom (2), Derick Minnie, Gavin Annandale.
Conversions: Marnitz Boshoff (5), Lionel Cronje (1)
Western Province 12 (5) : Tries: Joshua Katzen, Dillyn Leyds. Conversion: Tim Swiel.