Jaco Kriel ran in a hat-trick of tries as the Xerox Golden Lions hammered the EP Kings 60-19 (halftime 25-7) in their Absa Currie Cup match at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Flank Kriel turned in a barnstorming performance as he wrapped up his hat-trick in just 44 minutes with the hosts running in nine tries in total as they blew the Kings away.
EP had made a fast start to the match and they needed just two minutes to breach the Lions’ defence when right wing Ronnie Cook went over between the posts for a converted try after a 50-metre dash.
But the Lions struck back two minutes later when outside centre Stokkies Hanekom dotted down for a converted try.
Golden Lions flyhalf Jaco van der Walt, in for the injured Marnitz Boshoff who suffered a broken arm in the win over the Vodacom Blue Bulls a week ago, missed out on a chance to extend the lead in the 13th minute when he failed with a penalty kick attempt.
However, the Kings were rocked when flank Thembelani Bholi was yellow-carded, in the 22nd minute, after repeated infringements at the breakdown from the visitors.
The hosts were quick to take advantage of their numerical advantage and they kicked to the corner and from the resultant penalty Kriel was mauled over for a try.
The Golden Lions were starting to take control of the contest and left wing Ruan Combrinck grabbed the third try, in the 29th minute, as the home team eased to a 17-7 lead.
Van der Walt added a penalty kick before the Lions wrapped up the bonus-point for scoring four tries when Kriel barged his way over in the 38th minute as the Golden Lions reached halftime with a commanding 18-point lead.
LIONS RUN RIOT IN SECOND HALF
The Golden Lions began the second half in a rush and Kriel grabbed his hat-trick just four minutes after the resumption of play.
The hosts were running rampant and flank Derick Minnie rumbled over in the 52nd minute for a converted try.
The Kings showed that they would not be complete pushovers and they managed to reduce the deficit to 39-12 when replacement eighthman Aidon Davis was mauled over for a try in the corner.
But the Golden Lions re-established their dominance as replacement lock Willie Britz and fullback Andries Coetzee ran in tries before EP fullback Scott van Breda scored a try and kicked the resulting conversion, in the 70th minute.
There was just enough time for Golden Lions replacement Albertus ‘Kwagga’ Smith, a former Springbok sevens player, to grab a debut try as the hosts cantered to victory.
Xerox Golden Lions – Tries: Stokkies Hanekom, Ruan Combrinck, Jaco Kriel (3), Derick Minnie, Willie Britz, Andries Coetzee, Albertus Smith; Conversions: Jaco van der Walt (6); Penalty: Van der Walt.
EP Kings – Tries: Ronnie Cook, Aidon Davis, Scott van Breda; Conversions: Gary van Aswegan, Van Breda.