Mer­ci­less Lions set the tone for Craven Week

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - THEO GARRUN

THE Golden Lions laid down the marker on the open­ing day of the Coca-Cola Craven Week at St Stithi­ans Col­lege by beat­ing Bor­der 44-8 yes­ter­day.

They scored seven tries, five of them in the sec­ond half, to run out com­fort­able win­ners af­ter the Eastern Cape side re­stricted them to a 13-8 half time lead.

Bor­der were un­able to add to their score af­ter the break while the Lions backs got into gear and ran them ragged in the end. Cen­tre Yanga Hlalu notched up a hat-trick of tries and looked un­stop­pable at times. Full­back Kennedy Mpeku was also full of run­ning for the hosts and was re­warded with a try.

The other Lions try-scor­ers were Ti­nus Com­brink, David Cary, and Ste­fan Le Roux. Mpeku kicked a penalty and a con­ver­sion, with Luke Ros­souw and Muzi Manyike also adding con­ver­sions.

Free State were also im­pres­sive as they ran in 12 tries in de­mol­ish­ing Boland 81-26 to showthere is noth­ing wrong with their tra­di­tional run­ning game fol­low­ing their dis­ap­point­ing show­ing last year. Winger Henk Cil­liers dot­ted down four times for them. Ruhan Greyling got two tries and Her­man Agen­berg, Mar­cel The­unis­sen, Ross Braude, Christopher Schreuder, Jen­con Van Heynig­ing, Henk Cil­liers and Te­boho Ram­pai one each. Schreuder added a penalty and nine con­ver­sions.

In theother big games, West­ern Prov­ince showed that they have ev­ery in­ten­tion of ex­tend­ing their two year-long un­beaten record when they beat a plucky Pu­mas side 36-10, af­ter lead­ing 19-3 at the break.

Chris­tian Ros­souw, Janko Swanepoel, Vian Fourie, Ger­ado Jaars, De­wald Keller­man and Muller Du Plessis scored the WP tries while Dar­ren Hoff­man con­verted three of them.

The Lions played most of their re­serves in the game and one fancies they will get bet­ter as the week pro­gresses.

Just who they will be pit­ted against in their sec­ond out­ing to­mor­row will be in­ter­est­ing.

Logic says they should play West­ern Prov­ince, but that would mean the two sides re­garded by most as the best at the week will not meet in the pres­ti­gious fi­nal fix­ture on Mon­day.

At the Coca-Cola un­der-18 Acad­emy Week, run­ning con­cur­rently with the Craven Week, there were big wins for EP Coun­try and the Sharks. Eastern Prov­ince drew with Gri­quas and West­ern Prov­ince beat neigh­bours Boland.

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