As rumours swirl that the Kings may yet survive the Super Rugby cull, the Lions cruised to a 42-19 victory over the the Port Elizabeth based team at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
Johan Ackerman’s men scored five first half tries as they raced to a 23-point halftime lead.
However, the second-half was disjointed, yielding a single try by each team, as the Lions took their foot off the gas and the Kings defended better.
The game began at breakneck speed. Madosh Tambwe, Malcolm Marx and Eton Jantjies all scored tries, cancelling out the first-minute try by Andile Ntsila who, charge-down Andries Coetzee’s clearance, to give the home team a 7-0 lead.
Tambwe scored an intercept soon after and Jantjies’ conversion tied the scores before, Marx scored from a maul and Jantjies, from close range, after collecting Faf de Klerk’s pass from the quick ball at the breakdown, put the visitors 21-7 up.
The Kings scored their second moments later when, Yaw Penxe’s debut try, after a wonderful break by Ntsila, who sent the 19-year-old over in the corner.
Cronje can’t add the extras, 21-14 inside the opening quarter.
Tambwe had his double on 24 minutes and, 10 minutes later, Jaco Kriel barged his way through the broken maul and, scores the Lions’ fifth try.
Jantjies’ fifth conversion extended the lead to 35-12 at the break.
Malcolm Jaer scored soon after the restart, using his pace and fancy footwork, to slip through the Lions defence.
It started from a break by Penxe and some deft hands from Cronje, whose conversion reduced the deficit to 16.
The Kings almost had another but, the ball was passed out into touch.
The game broke into a 20-minute passage of mistakes and cynical penalties before the returning Harold Vorster scored.
The Lions’ line-out had been a mess, losing several of their own throws. But, with four minutes remaining, they sorted out the set piece and got their sixth try of the afternoon.
Warren Whiteley gathered and passed to Kriel, on an angled run. The flanker ghosted through the open line drew a defender and, put Vorster away.
Final score Kings 19 (12) Lions 42 (35)
All pictures by Zane Hobson