PORT ELIZABETH (Reuters) - A five-try first half blitz set the Lions on their way to a 42-19 away win over the Southern Kings in Super Rugby at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday but they only made sure of a bonus point right near the end.
The Lions, who were runners-up in the competition last year, won for a fourth time in five games this season as teenage Congo-born winger Madosh Tambwe grabbed two tries and the Springbok trio of Malcolm Marx, Elton Jantjies and Jaco Kriel also scored before halftime.
But they turned in a strangely disjointed second-half showing and waited until four minutes from the end to add more points when Harold Vorster went over to ensure the bonus point.
The Kings, who never looked capable of ending their unwanted record of never beating a fellow South African franchise, scored inside the opening minute through Andisa Ntsila and saw debutant Yaw Penxe and fullback Malcolm Jaer also cross over for tries.
The early score for the home team came as Ntsila charged down a clearance to go over after just 50 seconds but a horror error by the Kings just two minutes later, when a cut out pass on their own line was intercepted by 19-year-old Tambwe, brought parity.
Marx and Jantjies then scored in quick succession to extend the Lions’ lead to 21-7 inside the opening 15 minutes before Ntsila’s break from inside his own 22 set up 19-year-old Penxe for a debut score.
But Tambwe, with another easy cross over, and Kriel added to the Lions’ try tally to make it a convincing 35-12 at half-time.
The second half was just three minutes old when Jaer reduced the deficit as he stepped into a narrow gap to score after which the Lions seemed to loose momentum.
But with four minutes left, they broke out from a line out for Kriel to set up Vorster for a potentially important bonus point.
(Reporting by Mark Gleeson, editing by Pritha Sarkar)