Lions run riot at Ellis Park
REPORT: The Lions started the defence of their Currie Cup crown with a 68-26 drubbing of the hapless Pumas at Ellis Park on Saturday.
The 10 tries to four victory was every bit as comprehensive as the scoreline suggests.
It must be said that the Pumas' defence was somewhat below the expected standards. Against a team of the Lions' quality, you will get punished.
And the Lions showed just how devastating they can be with ball in hand - the try scored by fullback Sylvian Mahuza having been started by centre Howard Mnisi inside his own in-goal area.
However, there will be some concern among the Lions' coaching staff over the four tries they conceded and the occasional lapse in concentration.
The Lions got off to the perfect start - the Pumas allowing the ball to bounce and lock Lourens Erasmus running onto it, sprinting over for one of the fastest tries in recorded history. It took less than 10 seconds. The Jaco van der Walt conversion made it 7-0 and the clock had hardly passed the one-minute mark.
The Lions went 14-0 up in the 10th minute, but either side of the Van der Walt try the Lions lost two players to the sin-bin - hooker Armand van der Merwe (in the seventh minute for a high tackle) and prop Jacques van Rooyen (in the 11th minute for a cynical foul).
Despite being two men down, the Lions still held out the Pumas and just after both transgressors returned to the field Anthony Volmink used his pace and power to score a sublime individual try.
The Pumas finally got on the board in the 25th minute, when Marlou van Niekerk sold a massive dummy to Nicolaas Hanekom.
The Lions responded immediately, flank Cyle Brink going over some great interplay between forwards and back.
On the half-hour mark, Kwezi Mona scored the Pumas' second try, following a strong maul and a powerful charge by the prop.
However, the Lions had the final say in the first half when Sylvian Mahuza used his blistering pace to outrun the cover defence and score - a try that was started by the Lions' co-captain Howard Mnisi inside his own in-goal area.
It will, no doubt, be one of the nominations for try of the season and saw the home team take a 35-14 lead into the half-time break.
The Lions needed just five minutes to open their account - Armand van der Merwe going over after a quick-tap penalty by scrumhalf and co-captain Ross Cronje. The conversion made it 42-14.
Mnisi then went from provider to scorer, a quick tap after a free kick and the Lions' high tempo just too much for the already stretched Pumas defence.
Credit must go to the Pumas for not giving up and reward came in the form of a try to fullback Justin van Staden.
However, the Lions - as they have done throughout the game - continued to run hard and straight and Koch Marx scored the try that took them past the 50-point mark.
There were further tries by Marnitz Boshoff and Volmink, as the Lions' try-count went into double figures.
There was some late consolation for the Pumas - a Devon Williams try that earned them a bonus point.
Man of the match: Francois du Toit and Renaldo Bothma were the two most energetic Puma players, but as a collective there just wasn't enough support. You have a pack full of stars - Lourens Erasmus, Cyle Brink and Armand van der Merwe - to name just a few. Lions co-captain Howard Mnisi put his hand up as well, especially with the try that he started inside his own in-goal area. However, our award goes to Lions flyer Anthony Volmink - not only scoring two tries but generally causing havoc in the Pumas' defensive lines.
For the Lions:
Tries:Erasmus, Van der Walt, Volmink 2, Brink, Mahuza, Van der Merwe, Mnisi, Marx, Boshoff
Cons: Van der Walt 6, Boshoff 3
For the Pumas:
Tries:Van Niekerk, Mona, Van Staden, Williams
Cons: Brummer 3
Yellow cards: Armand van der Merwe (Lions, 7 - foul play, high tackle), Jacques van Rooyen (Lions, 11 - cynical foul, killing the ball)
Golden Lions: 15 Sylvian Mahuza, 14 Koch Marx, 13 Nicolaas Hanekom, 12 Howard Mnisi , 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Ross Cronjé (captain), 8 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Steph de Wit, 5 Lourens Erasmus, 4 Martin Muller, 3 Jacques van Rooyen, 2 Armand van der Merwe, 1 Corné Fourie.
Replacements: 16 Ramone Samuels, 17 Justin Ackerman, 18 Luvuyiso Lusaseni, 19 Victor Sekekete, 20 Dillon Smit, 21 Marnitz Boshoff, 22 Jacques Nel.
Pumas: 15 Justin van Staden, 14 Jean-Paul Lewis, 13 Hennie Skorbinski, 12 Marlou van Niekerk, 11 Marcello Sampson, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Reynier van Rooyen, 8 Renaldo Bothma, 7 Nardus van der Walt, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Hugo Kloppers (captain), 4 Wiehan Hay, 3 Louis Albertse, 2 Francois du Toit, 1 Kwezi Mona.
Replacements: 16 Herne Frank, 17 De-Jay Terblanche, 18 Jannie Stander, 19 Carel Greeff, 20 Emile Temperman, 21 Deon Helberg, 22 Devon Williams.
Referee: Stuart Berry
Assistant referees: Sindile Ngcese, Vusi Msibi
TMO: Johan Greeff