Original tour captain Alun Wyn Jones came off the bench after a remarkably quick recovery from a shoulder injury to help the British and Irish Lions hammer the Stormers 49-3 in Cape Town on Saturday.
Jones was injured in a warm-up match against Japan in Edinburgh last month and ruled out of the eight-match tour only to arrive in South Africa on Thursday, and replaced Adam Beard after 64 minutes.
It was the Lions' fourth win in five tour games and they now prepare for a three-Test series against the world champions Springboks, starting in Cape Town next Saturday.
After taking the lead through a Tim Swiel penalty and holding their own for 30 minutes, a Stormers side lacking eight stars training with the Springboks trailed 21-3 at half-time and faded in the second half.
Forwards Adam Beard, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Jonny Hill, Jack Conan, Zander Fagerson and Sam Simmonds scored six of the Lions' seven tries with the other coming from substitute wing Louis Rees-Zammit.
Marcus Smith, the young England fly-half who joined the tour party last weekend, converted all the tries and gave a polished performance as he fulfilled a childhood dream.
As a 10-year-old in Singapore, he watched the 2009 Lions lose a Test series in South Africa and told his father he would play for them one day.
His inside pass to Elliot Daly, which set up Conan to score, was a highlight of a match in an empty Cape Town Stadium because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"It was hugely physical. The Stormers brought it to us. At times they made it really difficult for us," said Lions skipper Stuart Hogg.
"We are happy with the performance. At times things came off for us, at times they did not.
"Now we are into the big stuff. The competition for (Test) places is absolutely ridiculous -- everyone is fighting hammer and tongs to get into the side.
"There are going to be some disappointed people, but we are all here for the same purpose."
- South Africa A lose -
In the first match of a double-header, a South Africa A side containing contenders for the first Test, fell 17-14 to the Bulls franchise with a late Chris Smith penalty winning the match.
"We needed three games to get our ducks in a row before the Test series and we got that," said Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber.
"The result was not what we had hoped for, but a number of questions were answered, especially with regards to the readiness of individual players for selection.
"I wanted the guys to stake a claim for selection for the first Test and, unfortunately, not everyone did that.
"But I am not going to discuss individuals -- any comments on them will be emotional because we are hurting.
"As a team, the performance was not there, and I blame myself for that as well. The lack of dominance from our pack was not what we had expected.
"With the late confirmation of the game, we also did not do any analysis on the Bulls and that showed, while I did expect a better set-piece platform."
"The Bulls were good and desperate, and they showed how much they wanted it. The disappointing part is that they wanted it more as a team than we did."
Aphelele Fassi and Wandesile Simelane scored first-half tries for South Africa A and captain Elton Jantjies converted both for a 14-0 half-time lead.
Fly-half Johan Goosen, debuting for the Bulls after leaving French club Montpellier, inspired a comeback in which he converted tries by Keagan Johannes and Johan Grobbelaar before Smith became the match-winner.