The Lions booked their semi-final spot with a comfortable 40-23 win over the Jaguares at Ellis Park on Saturday.
The Lions’ win sets up a semifinal clash against the Waratahs in Johannesburg next weekend.
Swys de Bruin’s side outscored the Jaguares four tries to two and Elton Jantjies added 20 points to the tally – including a drop goal.
The Jaguares dominated the opening minutes and took an early 6-0 lead thanks to two successive Nicolas Sanchez penalties.
The Lions had less ball and territory in the first half, but clinical finishing delivered three tries and a 24-9 half-time advantage.
The Lions’ first try came via wing Ruan Combrinck, who neatly collected a perfect cross-kick from Elton Janjties.
Harold Voster also got his name on the scoresheet. Aphiwe Dyantyi’s grubber and a kind bounce of the ball made sue the centre pounced on a loose ball for the second five-pointer of the match. Jantjies made no mistake to add the second conversion.
With an 8-point buffer, the Lions kept the scoreboard ticking with a rare Jantjies penalty kick, 17-6.
Soon 17-6 turned into 24-6. This time, hooker Malcolm Marx intercept Gonzalo Bertranou’s pass and crossed the chalk for the for the third try.
Just before the break, the Jaguares won a penalty inside the Lions’ 22. But, instead of creating a try-scoring opportunity, the Argentinians opted for the posts. Sanchez made no mistake to slot over the three points.
Early second-half scores from Bautista Delguy and skipper Pablo Matera reduced the gap to just four points.
But the Lions regained the momentum and an Andries Coetzee try just before the hour gave them an 11-point lead that was stretched by a drop goal and a penalty from Elton Jantjies.
“We were really focused this week and converted out chances well, but we need to hold on to the ball better,” said Lions skipper Warren Whiteley.
“My team are growing every week and the highlights of our season were winning four consecutive matches in Australia and New Zealand,” said Matera.
Man of the match: Elton Jantjies dictated the game very well, the flyhalf was accurate from the tee and his cross-kicks played a vital part in the win. While replacement Marnus Schoeman’s carries gave the side advantage. However, our nod goes to Lions hooker Malcolm Marx, who dominated at the breakdown and manage to win possession at crucial moments.
Tries: Combrinck, Voster, Marx, Coetzee
Cons: Jantjies 4
Pens: Jantjies 3
Drop Goal: Jantjies
Tries: Delguy, Matera
Cons: Sanchez 2
Pens: Sanchez 3
Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Albertus Smith, 5 Francois Mostert, 4 Marvin Orie, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques Van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16 Corne Fourie, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Dillon Smit, 22 Courtnall Skosan, 23 Howard Mnisi.
Jaguares: 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 11 Matia Moroni, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Tomans Lezana, 6 Pablo Matera (captain), 5 Marcos Kremer, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Santiago Garcia Botta.
Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Juan Pablo Zeiss, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Tomas Lavanini, 21 Juan Manual Leguizamon, 22 Martin Landajo, 23 Sebastian Cancelliere.
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa), Egon Seconds (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)