No shocks at Craven Week
The Golden Lions efficiently demolished Border yesterday - 44-8 - while Western Province, Free State and the Limpopo Blue Bulls got expected wins on the first day of the 54th Craven Week at St Stithians College in Johannesburg.
Yanga Hlalu's hat-trick played a huge part as the Lions swamped Border in the main match.
The Lions struggled to get out of the blocks after Border scored first but once their forwards found their range, their dangerous backs were let loose to telling effect.
They drilled home 31 unanswered points in the second half as Hlalu, Kennedy Mpeku, David Cary, Stephan le Roux and Tinus Combrinck put the hosts on their way to Saturday's main game.
Province were a far better side, winning 36-10 against the Pumas. Their 26-point win may look convincing but it was far from it.
For a large part of the first half, they were under the cosh and if an early Pumas try had not been disallowed, they would have trailed.
But their forwards took charge alongside the evasive Muller du Plessis and Gerardo Jaars and scored six tries.
The tries were evenly spread but with the Lions and Free State looming in tomorrow's matches, they will need to be better.
Free State mauled Boland by 81 points to 26.
Henk Cilliers's four tries were the platform for a powerful Free State performance as they put themselves in line for Saturday's main game.
Boland started well and competed in every facet until Free State's superior condition came to the fore.
With the score 43-19 at half time, the match was wrapped up but it was clear Free State were not done.
In all, they ran in 11 tries. Ruhann Greyling, Teboho Rampai, Christopher Schreuder, Marcel Theunissen, Herman Agenbag, Ross Braude and Janco van Heynigen all scored.
Bulls won 41-3 against Border Country Districts.
On the back of a powerful and cohesive forward performance, the northern-most province powered to an easy 38-point win against the weakest team in the tournament. It could have been a bigger margin but the Country Districts side defended manfully and forced errors from their stronger opponents.
Right wing Ofentse Maubane snatched two tries. Vincent Roos, Heini Ferreira, Phillip Apea-Adu and Marko Benade were the other try scorers.
Griffons lost to the Griquas Country Districts by 27-28. A late Brendan van der Walt try was not enough to rescue the Griffons, who fell to an exuberant Griquas County Districts side.
The Griffons were let down by poor goalkicking in windy conditions as only one of their five tries was converted.