The Golden Lions ended the regular Currie Cup season undefeated after claiming a 29-19 victory over Griquas at Ellis Park on Saturday.
While Lions coach Johan Ackermann sent out an under-strength starting XV for this encounter, the youngsters looked every bit the part against a determined Griquas outfit.
The visitors absorbed the early pressure before striking the first blow on the 10-minute mark when Carel Greeff barged over from a lineout drive for a converted try.
Jaco van der Walt hit the upright with an easy penalty attempt, but two converted tries by Sampie Mastriet and Kwagga Smith saw the hosts lead 14-7.
That was followed by a scrappy period, before Griquas scored through scrumhalf Tian Meyer, on the stroke of half-time, to level matters.
The second half was a dreary affair with a lot of handling errors, and the first points only came in the final quarter.
RJ Liebenberg was sent off for a high tackle on Ricky Schroeder and the Lions racked up 10 points in his absence via a Van der Walt penalty and a converted try by debutant Jacques Nel.
Griquas kept on fighting and closed the deficit to one point late in the match when replacement Dylon Frylinck broke through the defence.
But the Lions weren't about to ruin their perfect season and pounced on a Griquas' mistake close to the tryline for their fourth try.
Golden Lions – Try: Sampie Mastriet, Kwagga Smith, Jacques Nel (2). Conversion: Jaco van der Walt (3). Penalty: Van der Walt.
Griquas – Try: Carel Greeff, Tian Meyer, Dylon Frylinck. Conversion: Gouws Prinsloo (2).
Golden Lions – 15 Vainon Willis, 14 Sampie Mastriet, 13 Jacques Nel, 12 Gerdus van der Walt, 11 Mark Richards, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Ricky Schroeder, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Ruaan Lerm, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Bobby de Wee, 4 MB Lusaseni, 3 Pieter Scholtz, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Dylan Smith.
Subs: 16 Mark Pretorius, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 Fabian Booysen, 19 Stephan de Witt, 20 Lohan Jacobs, 21 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 22 Salom Gavor.
Griquas – 15 Gouws Prinsloo, 14 Sandile Ngcobo, 13 Ruan Nel, 12 Clinton Swart, 11 Ntabeni Dukisa, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Tian Meyer (C), 8 Carel Greeff, 7 Jono Janse van Rensburg, 6 RJ Liebenberg, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Jonathan Adendorf, 3 Stephan Kotze, 2 Sidney Tobias, 1 Danie Mienie.
Subs: 16 Abraham le Roux, 17 Steph Roberts, 18 Leon Karemaker, 19 Wendal Wehr, 20 Dylon Frylinck, 21 Riaan Viljoen, 22 Jonathan Francke.
Photo: Anne Laing/HSM Images