Cape Town - The Lions have beaten the Crusaders 42-25 in a pulsating Super Rugby quarter-final in Johannesburg.
The home side sprinted out of the blocks, scoring as early as the 1st minute when Courtnall Skosan beat Crusaders lock Luke Romano to cruise over from 45m out. Flyhalf Elton Jantjies could not convert.
Their early dominance continued with centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg crashing over from in close for a converted score. Jantjies added a penalty and the Lions led 15-0 after 14 minutes.
The Crusaders slowly came back into the match, dominating much of the possession. Flyhalf Richie Mo'unga put them on the scoreboard with a 19th minute penalty and centre Ryan Crotty scored a converted try in the 32nd minute to see the visitors straight back into the encounter.
With the half coming to an end, the Lions turned down a very kickable penalty, opting for a lineout instead. This paid off when hooker Malcolm Marx got over the whitewash for a converted try a minute before the half-time whistle.
The Lions led 22-10 at the break.
In the second half, Mo'unga cut the deficit with another penalty after a Lions infringement only for Jantjies to restore a 12 point lead with an excellent drop goal.
The flyhalf added a second penalty as the Lions again extended their lead but the Crusaders kept themselves in the hunt when Mitchell Drummond got over for a converted try after the Lions could not deal with an Israel Dagg up-and-under.
At that point the Lions led 28-20 in the 63rd minute and it was anybody's ball game.
The home side finished far stronger than the visitors however, scoring two further converted tries through Ruan Combrinck and Ross Cronje to put the game beyond doubt.
Replacement Ben Volavola scored a consolation try for the Crusaders at the death.
The Lions, however, secured a home semi-final next week weekend.
Tries: Courtnall Skosan, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Malcolm Marx, Ruan Combrinck, Ross Cronje
Conversions: Elton Jantjies (4)
Penalties: Elton Jantjies (2)
Drop goal: Elton Jantjies
Try: Ryan Crotty, Mitchell Drummond, Ben Volavola
Conversion: Richie Mo'unga (2)
Penalties: Richie Mo'unga (2)
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Rohan Janse Van Rensburg, 11 Courtnal Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain) / Ruan Ackermann, 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylon Smith
Substitutes: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Jacques Van Rooyen, 19 Ruan Ackermann / Lourens Erasmus, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Jaco van der Walt / Sylvian Mahuza
15 Israel Dagg, 14 Johnny McNicholl, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 David Havili, 11 Jone Macilai, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Luke Romano, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Wyatt Crockett
Substitutes: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Alex Hodgman, 18 Mike Alaalatoa, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Jimmy Tupou, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Ben Volavola, 23 Kieron Fonotia