Lions roar to seventh straight win with Rebels rout

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Melbourne (AFP) – South Africa’s red-hot Golden Lions posted their biggest win in Australia with a thumping 47-10 Super Rugby victory over the Melbourne Rebels in Melbourne on Saturday.

The Johannesburg-based Lions hammered the hapless Rebels seven tries to one for their seventh straight win in this season’s competition.

The Lions, losing finalists to the Wellington Hurricanes last year, further extended their lead at the top of the South Africa 2 conference with their bonus-point romp.

The injury-depleted Rebels, fighting to stay in next season’s Super Rugby competition, trailed 14-7 late in the first half but were no match for the slick Lions steered by their classy halves combination of Elton Jantjies and Ross Cronje.

A highlight of the free-scoring victory was a sensational try by winger Sylvian Mahuza from his side of halfway in the 50th minute where he toyed with the Rebels defence.

“Momentum is building, but there is still a lot that needs to be worked on,” skipper Warren Whiteley said.

“We still have some soft moments within the game. We’re hard on ourselves, we want to keep on improving and this competition keeps you on your toes.

“It will get no easier next week against the ACT Brumbies in Canberra.”

Lions flanker Kwagga Smith opened the scoring after 20 minutes following sustained pressure and Cronje crossed five minutes later.

The scrum-half swept on to an inside ball from hooker Malcolm Marx and beat two defenders to open up a 14-0 lead.

The Rebels worked hard and grabbed their only try of the match when a grubber kick from scrum-half behind the Lions line was pounced on by Tom English.

The home side, watched by a small crowd, trailed by seven points but nearing half-time Lions winger Courtnal Skosan dashed over to lead 19-7 at half-time.

It was one-way traffic in the second half with four Lions tries, including Mahuza’s scintillating effort, bouncing off five Rebels players to score under the crossbar.

The Lions were awarded a penalty try midway through the half with Rebels lock Cullum Retallick yellow-carded for intentional offside as he tried to prevent a try-bound rolling maul.

Further tries from Anthony Volmink and Whiteley completed the Rebels misery.

The Rebels remain anchored at the bottom of the Australian conference with just one win.

    <figure><figcaption>Golden Lions' Warren Whiteley dives over for a try in their Super Rugby thumping of the  Melbourne Rebels 47-10
        <span>Copyright AFP Mal Fairclough</span>
      </figcaption><img src="https://desiforce.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/b184f71ee1b947ac694b2b0904f5a90e43a45f50.jpg" width="768" height="553"><figcaption>Golden Lions' Andries Coetzee leaps clear of a tackle attempt by James Hanson of the Melbourne Rebels
        <span>Copyright AFP Mal Fairclough</span>
      </figcaption></figure>