The Lions added another scalp to their pre-season collection, as the Johannesburg-based franchise ran rampant to beat Tucumán 82-19 on Wednesday.
Having mauled the Sharks last week, John Mitchell’s pride again showed their Super Rugby teeth in a match that looked like no more than a training run.
Three tries and a 19-3 lead after only 13 minutes set the tone for the match in Johannesburg, as the Argentine tourists looked a pale shadow of the team that won their country’s national provincial title.
With a number of their key players currently with the Pampas XV – an Argentinian selection that plays in the Vodacom Cup against the South African provinces – they were simply no match for the eager Lions outfit.
The Lions led 47-9 at half-time with seven tries to their credit, and ended up scoring 12 tries against one.
It was only in the scrums that the visitors were – initially – really competitive, although some poor line-outs by the Lions and also a few unnecessary turnovers helped the visitors to keep it from being an even bigger trashing.
Such sloppiness will undoubtedly be punished when the Super Rugby series starts in just over a week, but against better quality opposition there may well be more focus and better finishing.
There was some incisive running though, and on the few occasions that they had to the Lions defended solidly.
There was also some good inter-switching in the running, and good straightening of the line – but also a few occasions where a step less and a quicker off-load would have brought dividends. The handling also wasn’t always secure.
It didn’t help matters for the visitors when Lisandro Ahvalli was yellow-carded for repeated negative play, and Lions coach John Mitchell brought on eight replacements just before the start of the last quarter.
The fresh players started off at a speed, but then structure and handling let them down.
However, after 66 minutes the score already stood at 75-19, following a 62nd minute run-away try against the run by Tucumán’s centre Francisca Granata.
Their other points came from four penalties and a conversion by Esequiel Faralle.
Good news for the Lions was the sharpness of flyhalf Elton Jantjies in his first match, which included 18 points from nine (some easy) conversions with only one miss.
For the Lions:
Tries: Van Schalkwyk 2, Kamana, Strauss 2, Killian 2, Murray, Vermaak, Minnie, La Grange, Mapoe
Cons: Jantjies 9, Francis 2
Pens: Faralle 4