Golden Lions run Samoa ragged
The Golden Lions tuned up for their Super Rugby promotion-relegation match with a 10-try (74-14) thumping of Manu Samoa on Saturday.
The Golden Lions tuned up for their Super Rugby promotion-relegation match with a 10-try (74-14) thumping of a hapless Manu Samoa team in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Loose forward Derick Minnie, coming on as a replacement early in the match, scored three tries to set the tone.
The Samoans managed two first-half tries of their own and at 14-27 they may have held out some hope at the half-time break.
However, seven more tries and 47 unanswered points left the Pacific Islanders grasping at thin air as they failed to duplicate the big first-half hits that stopped some of the Lions' attacks.
The Lions face the Stormers (June 14), Sharks (June 21), Blue Bulls (July 6) and Griquas (July 13), before they face the bottom-placed South African team - most likely the Southern Kings - in a two-match Super Rugby promotion-relegation series on July 26 and August 2.
Samoa face Scotland on June 8 at Kings Park in Durban and Italy on June 15 at new Test venue Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit.
Depending on those results, Samoa will face Scotland, Italy or South Africa for first or third place on June 22 at Loftus Versfeld stadium in Pretoria.
Scotland, Samoa and South Africa were drawn in the same group for the 2015 World Cup in England and Wales.
Watching a video replay of the match will embarrass some of the tourists as woeful defending allowed the Lions to score too many soft tries.
Samoa fullback Paul Williams, a son of former New Zealand great Bryan Williams, refused to use the 1,800-metre Johannesburg altitude as an excuse.
"It is part of rugby and we have to adapt. This result is incredibly disappointing for us," the skipper confessed.
"Nothing turned out the way we had planned and there is a lot of work to be done before facing Scotland next weekend.
"We were missing a few experienced players, who will arrive early next week, but the side is used to this situation and should have performed much better."
Samoa began brightly with left wing Alesana Tuilagi scoring the first try after 10 minutes and flyhalf Ki Anufe converted.
But the islanders allowed substitute flank Derick Minnie to barge over for three tries before half-time and flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff converted them all.
The giant Samoans - tighthead prop James Johnston weighs 138 kilograms - ran out of steam during the second half and the final whistle was a relief.
Samoa also came unstuck in the set-pieces and defensively as they crashed to a humiliating defeat at the hands of the energetic Lions.
The Samoans were penalised heavily at the scrums and battled at the line-out and this, together with their lacklustre defence, especially out wide, allowed the Lions to run rampant.
Although the visitors have been disrupted by several injuries, they are going to have to pull themselves together quickly if they are to be competitive in the quadrangular series with Scotland, Italy and South Africa that starts next weekend.
The Lions were on the scoreboard first through a penalty by flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff in the third minute, but it was Samoa who grabbed the first try as they attacked well on the blindside and wing Alesana Tuilagi powered over the line.
However, Lions flank Derick Minnie, who had been brought on as a 15th-minute replacement for Jaco Kriel, then scored a hat-trick of tries to put them on the front foot.
The home side were lethal on the drive in the first half, putting the Samoans under enormous pressure in the tight exchanges.
Although eighthman Ofisa Treviranus scored for the tourists on the stroke of half-time, the Lions produced a sizzling second-half display to complete the rout.
The Samoans were burned on the outside by the Lions' pace and wing Anthony Volmink scored first after the break with the try of the day, running 95 metres to score after a turnover on attack by the visitors.
The Lions then successfully shut their opponents out of the game as fullback Chrysander Botha, replacement flyhalf Lionel Cronje, outside centre Nicolaas Hanekom (twice) and substitute scrumhalf Ross Cronje all scored tries after long-range breakouts.
Judging by their display, these are darks days indeed for Samoan rugby.
Man of the match: Alesana Tuilagi was the best player for the visitors, the giant wing scoring the opening try and making some massive hits. For the Lions, captain Warren Whiteley did good work in the loose, Alwyn Hollenbach was solid on attack and defence and Chrysander Botha was lethal in the No.15 jersey. Our pick though is hat-trick hero Derick Minnie, a super sub of note.
Villain of the match: Samoan tighthead James Johnston conceded several penalties at scrum time and there was also one for a thuggish shoulder charge.
Moment of the match: There was no shortage of memorable moments, but the most electric of all was Lions flyer Anthony Volmink's 80-metre score from turnover ball.
For the Golden Lions:
Tries: Minnie 3, Volminck, Botha, L Cronje, Hanekom 2, R Cronje, Van Rensburg
Cons: Boshoff 5, L Cronje 4
Pens: Boshoff 2
Tries: Tuilagi, Treviranus
Cons: Anufe 2
Golden Lions: 15 Chrysander Botha, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Nicolaas Hanekom, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Warren Whiteley (Captain), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Gavin Annandale, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Francois du Toit, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Willie Britz, 19 Derick Minnie, 20 Ross Cronje, 21 Lionel Cronje, 22 Dylan des Fountain, 23 Ruan Combrinck/CJ van der Linde.
Samoa: 15 Paul Williams (captain), 14 Sinoti Sinoti, 13 Seilala Mapusua, 12 Isaia Tuifua, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Ki Anufe, 9 Junior Poluleuligaga, 8 Ofisa Treviranus, 7 Fa'alemiga Selesele, 6 Alafoti Faosiliva, 5 Charles Baggot, 4 Fa'atiga Lemalu, 3 James Johnston, 2 Manu Leiataua, 1 Sam Aiono.
Replacements: 16 Wayne Ole Avei, 17 Sakaria Taulafo, 18 Logovi'i Mulipola, 19 Hannes Ludick, 20 Jason Fraser, 21 Alatasi Tupou, 22 Robert Lilomaiava, 23 Brandon Va'aulu.
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa), Lesego Legoete (South Africa)
TMO: Ben Crouse (South Africa)