Should anyone spot 15 men walking around today with wigs and stick-on moustaches, don’t be alarmed — those will be the Lions, too embarrassed to show their faces after last night’s horror show.
Clinton vd Berg writes in the Sunday Times that They weren’t beaten so much as destroyed by a Blues team who played with their eyeballs out from beginning to end.
The Lions took an early beating and were unable to recover against a side that set new standards of perpetual-motion play. They brutalised the Lions’ errors and although home supporters would have been stunned, it was hard not to be seduced by the Blues’ super show here last night.
They trashed the Lions scrum, they dominated the contact area and they punched holes through the middle as they pleased. Say it quietly, but this performance had shades of the great Blues side of the past when men like Sean Fitzpatrick and Zinzan Brooke were in their pomp.
The key to the Blues’ success was the hard, direct running of the forwards and the smart angles taken by the backs. Fly-half Nick Evans was a spectacular presence and outside him centres Isaia Toeava and Benson Stanley, nephew of the great “Smoking Joe”, operated like a pair of assassins. They carved the Lions to pieces.
There were few redeeming features from the hosts. There were a handful of decent tackles and they troubled the Blues’ lineout, but these were aberrations; they had no idea even how to spoil and grind, let alone put together a half-decent attacking play.
Feeble defence and poor kicking options by the Lions were central to the Blues’ early success. The Kiwis smashed their way through and picked up their bonus point as early as the 34th minute, coinciding with the wish that a power failure occur to put the home fans out of their misery.
Even when the Lions did have possession, they were either stopped by the Blues’ uncompromising defence — Louis Ludik, in particular, was bashed about like a rag doll — or their own ineptitude. Twice they had overlaps when in a strong attacking position in the first half. Twice they made a dog’s breakfast of the advantage.
The Blues pressed home their advantage with a vengeance in the second half. Nick Williams, the No8, made them pay for their girly tackling for the Blues’ fifth try.
The Lions cleared their bench, but the impact was negligible. Joe van Niekerk was knocked on his backside early on and Earl Rose, who’s usually good in the dying light of a game, was subjected to as much frustration as his teammates. It was a tired, lazy end to the game for the Lions as they practically collapsed. Rudi Wulf blitzed them with a try in the corner and the half-century was reached when Evans, ever the magician, burst through. A series of quick recycles was then rewarded when Haiu got his second score.
All the Lions got for their trouble was a handful of points — Jaco van Schalkwyk scored at the death — and a bloodied nose.
Lions 10 — Try: Jaco van Schalkwyk. Conversion: Louis Strydom. Penalty: Strydom (1).
Blues 55 — Tries: Kurtis Haiu (2), Nick Evans, Jerome Kaino, Isa Nacewa, Nick Williams, Rudi Wulf. Conversions: Nick Evans (7). Penalties: Evans (2).Tweet