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Late surge not enough for Sharks

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Lions, Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 11 Apr 2015 at 19:07
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , ,

The Lions have beaten the Sharks 23-21 in an entertaining Super Rugby game at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.

The visitors, stung into action by the criticism they endured this week, were full of energy and enthusiasm in a strong first half display that netted two tries. After Elton Jantjies had steered the hosts to a 6-0 lead via two penalties, the Sharks sprang to life, with Fred Zeilinga putting Andre Esterhuizen into space with a pinpoint pass. Waylon Murray took the ball in the 22, went to ground and Renaldo Bothma powered over form the back of the ensuing ruck. A beautiful flowing backline move saw Lwazi Mvovo set free with acres of space down the left not long after and the tails were up at 14-6.

This Lions side doesn’t lie down and while the Sharks had been doing well with ball in hand, their defence once again let them down. The first Lions try came shortly before half time, with Howard Mnisi going over after a line-out deep in Sharks territory. Taking heart from the fightback which saw them turn at just 11-14 down, the Lions absolutely dominated terrtitory and possession in the next 25 minutes, as the Sharks seemingly failed to emerge from the tunnel until deep into the second period. Tries to Harold Vorster and Faf de Klerk (a thorn in the Sharks’ flesh all night) saw them race away to a 23-14 lead, which they held right up until the final minutes.

To the Sharks’ credit, they didn’t give up this week and while they still proved susceptible to line breaks through poor defensive alignment, their close-in tackling remained strong. They manfully prevented the Lions from scoring a fourth – even while reduced to 14 men after Esterhuizen’s yellow card for a late tackle.

Replacement prop Thomas du Toit gave the side hope with his late try, coming off a series of great lineout drives, but with only seconds remaining, it was to be too little too late. Zeilinga had a late opportunity to snatch a perhaps undeserved win, but the 57m penalty was just a shade too big an ask for him after 80 tough minutes.

Lions 23 : Tries Mnisi, vorster, de Klerk. Conversion Jantjies. Penalties Jantjies (2).
Sharks 21: Tries Bothma, Mvovo, du Toit. Conversions Zeilinga (3).


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