Lions smash spiteful Reds
SUPER RUGBY REPORT: The Lions ran in seven tries, including four by wing Courtnall Skosan, to smash a spiteful Reds team 44-14 at Ellis Park on Saturday.
The Lions, with eight consecutive Super Rugby wins at Ellis Park, were simply too good for a Reds team that were never in the race.
Not even the oblivious behaviour of the referee, who seemed very selective in his decision-making, could help these rabble Reds.
Once the Reds realised they were being outplayed by the more energetic Lions, they resorted to tactics unbecoming of professional sportsmen and are very fortunate they received only one yellow card and one red card.
Wallaby flyhalf Quade Cooper's red card for his cheap shot on Rohan Janse van Rensburg will mean he will appear before a judicial hearing and could face a long ban.
His dismissal temporarily reduced the Brisbane-based outfit to 13 men as wing Eto Nabuli had been yellow-carded a minute earlier for a professional foul.
It could have been 15 players against 12 as neither the referee nor the TV match official spotted a spear tackle by wing Izaia Perese on flyhalf Elton Jantjies.
This incident occurred at the same time as Cooper committed his foul.
Skosan's third try on 65 minutes was the best as he darted after his long kick from inside the Lions half, caught the ball and darted over.
Flank Jaco Kriel, Janse van Rensburg and hooker Malcolm Marx were the other try scorers for the 2016 Super Rugby runners-up.
Jantjies had an off-day with his goal-kicking, slotting only two conversions and a penalty from six attempts.
When fullback Andries Coetzee took over the role he also managed only a 50 percent success rate, kicking one conversion and missing another.
The Lions led by 15 points at half-time and the score reached 39-0 before the Reds broke their duck through a try from centre Duncan Paia'aua.
Replacement prop Taniela Tupou barged over for a second Reds try just before the end. Substitute back Jake McIntyre converted both scores.
The Lions are away to fellow South Africans the Southern Kings in Port Elizabeth next Saturday, while the Reds face the Argentine Jaguares in Buenos Aires.
Man of the match: You can look at almost all the Lions players - from No.1 to No.15. There were plenty of good and some bad in them all. However, fullback Andries Coetzee was everything that was good about the Lions and wins our award. Special mention must go to debutant Madosh Tambwe, who was gull of running and looks set for a long career at the top level, and wing Courtnall Skosan for four sublime tries.
For the Lions:
Tries: Skosan 4, Kriel, Janse van Rensburg, Marx
Cons: Jantjies 2, Coetzee
For the Reds:
Tries: Paia'aua, Tupou
Cons: McIntyre 2
Yellow card: Eto Nabuli (Reds, 44 - cynical foul, killing the ball close to the line)
Reds card: Quade Cooper (Reds, 46 - foul play, swinging arm o the head)
Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Ruan Ackermann, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Albertus Smith, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Jaco van der Walt, 23 Harold Vorster.
Reds: 15 Karmichael Hunt, 14 Izaia Perese, 13 Samu Kerevi, 12 Duncan Paia'aua, 11 Eto Nabuli, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Nick Frisby, 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 George Smith, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Sam Talakai, 2 Andrew Ready, 1 James Slipper (captain).
Replacements: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 Markus Vanzati, 18 Taniela Tupou, 19 Lukhan Tui, 20 Adam Korczyk, 21 James Tuttle, 22 Jake McIntyre, 23 Chris Kuridrani.
Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Jamie Nutbrown (New Zealand), Stuart Berry (South Africa)
TMO: Willie Vos (South Africa)