Lions run rings round Jaguares

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In all, Warren Whiteley’s charges ran in eight tries to earn a bonus point, while the visitors from Argentina managed to cross the whitewash on just two occasions – in the second half when the game was all but over.

The home team were far from their best, but they were still good value for their win and much better than the newcomers to the competition. Whiteley’s men will perhaps be unhappy with a few sloppy moments in the first half, which saw them give away a few breakdown penalties, but overall they dominated the match and are well on their way to featuring in the play-offs.

It was again an impressive Lions team performance, with every member of the squad contributing to a terrific match – and result. Their handling, support play, running lines, pace and skill came to the fore in an especially pleasing second half in which they scored five magnificent tries. When the Lions are on, as they were yesterday, they are a joy to watch and how some of the other teams in South Africa must wish they had the players currently wearing the Lions jumper. Also, how they must wish their players had the self-belief that exists in this Lions team.

Several players again stood out – men new Springbok coach Allister Coetzee will simply have to consider for next month’s series against Ireland. Up front Akker van der Merwe was a menace throughout the time he was the field, while Lourens Erasmus and Franco Mostert were towering as a lock combination and behind them Whiteley and his back-row partners Jaco Kriel and Cyle Brink had a field-day. Both flankers scored tries, as did Erasmus in his first start in Super Rugby, while the other five-pointers belonged to the backs – wingers Ruan Combrinck and Courtnall Skosan both grabbing two, while Lionel Mapoe also scored a try to go with the three he got against the Blues.

Combrinck was especially devastating on attack and probably played his best game yet in Super Rugby, while Mapoe’s centre partner, Howard Mnisi, also enjoyed a wonderful afternoon. He cut the Jaguares’ defence to pieces at times and stood tall in defence.

Credit must go to the Lions pack, who laid the perfect foundation for the backs; their scrums and line-outs solid throughout. The visitors had their moments and they also looked to run from most parts of the field, but they were again their own worst enemy, giving away a number of penalties for ill-discipline, something they will have to work on if they are to get better as a team.

Coach Johan Ackermann will be a happy man today. His team not only got the win and the five points, but they also played stunning rugby. Many of their tries were long-range efforts where all their skills and abilities were on display.

Now for the Bulls at Loftus … will they have the know-how to stop this rampant Lions team?

Flanker Jerome Kaino and winger Tevita Li scored tries as the Auckland Blues claimed a rare away success with a narrow 17-13 victory over the Western Force in Perth.

The New Zealand side scored all their points in the first half and led 17-3 at the break before the Force grabbed a try through flank Matthew Hodgson to claim a bonus point and set up a tense finish.

The victory was just a second away from home for the Blues in their last 15 matches on the road and kept their slim hopes of reaching the play-offs alive.

The Waikato Chiefs rediscovered their high-octane attack for long enough to secure a 36-15 bonus-point victory over the Melbourne Rebels that put them top of the Australasian group.

Coming off a bye after defeat by the Otago Highlanders in their last game, the Chiefs had the cowbells clanging from the fourth minute in Hamilton when centre Seta Tamanivalu cut inside two defenders to score their opening try.

The twice champions also had scores from returning two-cap All Blacks hooker Nathan Harris, flyhalf Aaron Cruden and winger Toni Pulu in the first half, while Andrew Horrell crossed for their sole effort after the break.

No8 Curtis Browning scored a try early in each half as the Queensland Reds held off a second-half surge from Japan’s Sunwolves in Brisbane to notch their third win of the season, 35-25.

Sunwolves’ centre Derek Carpenter scored his second try of the match in the 50th minute and five minutes later flanker Liaki Moli crossed to level the scores at 25-25.

Reds scrumhalf Nick Frisby made a break that allowed lock Cadeyrn Neville to canter to the line on the hour mark, however, and the home side, who also had a try from skipper James Slipper in the first half, ultimately got the win they deserved.

– The Sunday Independent

Result:

Lions (19) 52

Tries: Skosan (2), Mapoe, Erasmus, Brink, Kriel, Combrinck (2); Conversions: Jantjies (2), Combrinck; Penalties: Combrinck (2)

Jaguares (9) 24

Tries: Sanchez, Bertranou; Conversions: Iglesias; Penalties: Sanchez (4)

Original source: Lions run rings round Jaguares

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