Late Lions tries send Cardiff to worst league run

Gonzalo Bertranou of Cardiff is tackled by Lions

Two late tries by Lions condemned Cardiff to their worst run of league defeats.

Cardiff rallied early in the second half as Corey Domachowski's try helped cut the hosts' lead to 20-13 in Johannesburg.

But Emmanuel Tshituka crossed twice in the final six minutes to inflict a record eighth league defeat in a row for Cardiff.

It surpasses the a run of seven losses in 2015 and they will rue squandered opportunities, indiscipline and nine points missed at goal.

The 79th-minute bonus point, after Ruan Venter and Quan Horn scored in the first-half, keeps Lions in the play-off hunt while Cardiff slip to 13th.

Tinus de Beer maintained his remarkable record of scoring in every league game this season but had an off-day with the boot both at goal and in open play.

But Cam Winnett impressed as did James Botham with a workmanlike display on his first start since scoring in the Six Nations opener for Wales.

Hooker Evan Lloyd, twice capped off the bench for Wales in the Six Nations, also made his first professional start amid five changes by Matt Sherratt.

And was part of a solid set-piece display by the visitors.

Gabriel Hamer-Webb made his first appearance since returning to the club from Bath and made one of a series of breaks by Cardiff that went unfinished.

Rhys Carre and Cam Winnett followed but it was two moments of Lions quick-thinking that caught out the visitors.

Flanker Venter barged over from close range from a quickly-taken penalty in front of the posts before Horn marked his return from injury with an opportunist try.

Captain Marius Louw was inside his own half when he spotted acres of open field in Cardiff's half after the visitors were penalised in attack and full-back Horn had the legs to beat both Mackenzie Martin and Botham to the speculative kick.

Cardiff lost scrum-half Gonzalo Bertranou to an early injury before De Beer hit the target at the third attempt.

Lions' counter-rucking was effective and Sanele Nohamba responded by taking his season tally past 100 points with two penalties either side of half-time before Sherratt's tweaks paid off.

The head coach rested four forwards at half-time, perhaps with Sharks next week in mind, including Lloyd, Martin and both both props and it was replacement Domachowski who dived in for Cardiff's try.

De Beer converted and added a penalty, from a scrum, to trim the deficit to 20-13 on the hour.

But with Cardiff threatening a comeback, Jacob Beetham narrowly missed a long-range penalty before an attacking lineout was lost with Liam Belcher's throw.

Instead Lions hit back twice late on to inflict a heavy defeat on the scoreboard, if not on the pitch.

Lions: Quan Horn; Richard Kriel, Erich Cronje, Marius Louw (capt), Edwill van der Merwe; Sanele Nohamba, Morne van den Berg; Ruan Dreyer, PJ Botha, Asenathi Ntlabakanye, Willem Alberts, Ruan Delport, JC Pretorius, Ruan Venter, Francke Horn.

Replacements: Jaco Visagie, JP Smithx, Conrad van Vuren, Reinhard Nothnagel, Emmanuel Tshituka, Hanru Sirgel, Jordan Hendrikse, Gianni Lombard

Cardiff: Cam Winnett; Gabriel Hamer-Webb, Mason Grady, Ben Thomas, Theo Cabango; Tinus de Beer, Gonzalo Bertranou; Rhys Carre, Evan Lloyd, Keiron Assiratti, Seb Davies, Rory Thornton, Ben Donnell, James Botham, Mackenzie Martin.

Replacements: Liam Belcher, Corey Domachowski, Rhys Litterick, Shane Lewis-Hughes, Alun Lawrence, Ellis Bevan, Jacob Beetham, Max Clark.

Referee: Eoghan Cross (IRFU)

Assistant referees: Aimee Barrett-Theron & Cwengile Jadezweni (SARU)

TMO: Frank Murphy (IRFU)