Cape Town - Super Rugby newcomers, the Jaguares sent out a strong message with a comprehensive 49-28 win over the Lions in their pre-season outing at Wits University on Friday night.
According to the SuperSport website, midfielder Jeronimo De la Fuenta scored a hat-trick as his side crossed the tryline seven times to the four scored by the home side - a largely second-string Lions side who ended their pre-season activities with losses agains the Bulls and their South American counterparts ahead of their start to the season.
The Lions will name a squad to head to Tokyo this week for their opening encounter with the other new team in the competition, the Sunwolves in Japan, and will from then on head towards New Zealand for two matches before returning home.
The Jaguares open their season against the Cheetahs next Friday night in Bloemfontein.
Santiago Cordero opened the scoring early, going over from a scrum but it was the Lions who immediately hit back through a try by Corne Fourie to level matters.
Emilliano Bofelli added a second try out wide and was joined on the scoreboard by De la Fuenta shortly afterwards.
Some of the Lions defence was very suspect as De la Fuenta added a second before the half-time break to give his team a solid 28-7 lead at the interval.
Subsitute Gonzalo Bertranou went over shortly after the restart after some shocking defending by the Lions, and was joined by De la Fuenta, who claimed his hat-trick with a score under the posts.
Harold Vorster scored for the Lions to underline a solid performance in the midfield and the Lions were soon to have a one man advantage as both Javier Ortega and Joaquin Paz were yellow carded, with Anthony Volminck joining them in the sin bin.
The Lions were caught on their own line and refused to release the ball, despite being held by three opposition players, leading to the referee awarding a penalty try and a healthy 49-14 lead as the clock ticked down.
Ruan Lerm and Lourens Erasmus scored in the final minutes to make the scoreline look respectable, but there are a lot of questions about the Lions depth ahead of a tough season.
Tries: Corne Fourie, Harold Vorster, Ruan Lerm, Lourens Erasmus
Conversions: Marnitz Boshoff (4)
Tries: Santiago Cordero, Emilliano Bofelli, Jeronimo De La Fuenta (3), Gonzalo Bertranou, penalty try
Conversions: Nicolas Sanchez (7)