Kwagga Smith scored a hat-trick as the Golden Lions recorded an emphatic 51-14 victory over the EP Kings in Port Elizabeth on Saturday. CRAIG LEWIS reports.@@@&&&&
The Lions scored six tries to two from the Kings, and the result was effectively sealed within the opening quarter as the visitors opened up a 28-0 lead.
Considering the Kings will be using this Currie Cup as preparation for their return to Vodacom Super Rugby next year, it was an inauspicious start to the season.
By contrast, the Lions sent out a strong statement about their title ambitions, and while they will face far sterner tests in the weeks to come, there certainly don’t look to be many weaknesses to this well-rounded side.
It was embarrassing one-way traffic early on as the Lions secured the bonus point after just 15 minutes, with Smith scoring twice, while Courtnall Skosan and Howard Mnisi also dotted down.
With flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff adding the extras, the Lions quickly dashed into a commanding lead, although winger Sylvain Mahuza did manage to open the scoring for the Kings when he pounced on a loose pass to score an intercept try under the posts.
It enabled the Kings to temporarily halt the Lions’ momentum, but a Boshoff penalty before half-time ensured the visitors enjoyed a 24-point lead at the break.
Boshoff added two more penalties in the third quarter, while Kings replacement Simon Kerrod finished off a Luke Watson-inspired try in the 53rd minute.
However, the Kings’ challenge was well and truly killed off when prop Schalk Ferreira received a yellow card during the latter stages of the encounter, with Smith completing his hat-trick soon after, and Anthony Volmink scoring the Lions' sixth try just before full-time.
Golden Lions – Tries: Kwagga Smith (3), Courtnall Skosan, Howard Mnisi, Anthony Volmink. Conversions: Marnitz Boshoff (6). Penalties: Boshoff (3).
EP Kings – Tries: Sylvain Mahuza, Simon Kerrod. Conversions: Scott van Breda (2).
Golden Lions – 15 Ruan Combrinck, 14 Courtnall Skosan, 13 Harold Vorster, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Jaco Kriel (c), 5 Martin Muller, 4 Franco Mostert, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Subs: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 MB Lusaseni, 19 Steph de Wit, 20 Lohan Jacobs, 21 Stokkies Hanekom, 22 Jaco van der Walt.
EP Kings – 15 Scott van Breda, 14 Sylvain Mahuza, 13 JP du Plessis, 12 Tim Whitehead, 11 Luther Obi, 10 George Whitehead, 9 Enrico Acker, 8 Tim Agaba, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Luke Watson (c), 5 Cornel Hess, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Martin Ferreira, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Subs: 16 Michael van Vuuren, 17 Simon Kerrod, 18 Jacques Engelbrecht, 19 Paul Schoeman, 20 Kevin Luiters, 21 Karlo Aspeling, 22 Siyanda Grey.
Photo: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images