Lions edge Sharks in thriller
Elton Jantjies (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Defending champions the Golden Lions opened a three-point lead at the top of the Currie Cup table with a hard-fought victory over the Sharks at Coca-Cola Park on Saturday evening.
The men from Johannesburg overturned a 6-16 half-time deficit to win 28-22.
Neither side managed to wrest control of the match in the early stages, with Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies
and Sharks centre Meyer Bosman
trading penalty kicks before the visitors broke the deadlock shortly after the half-hour mark.
Winger Odwa Ndungane
went over for the first try of the match in the 33rd minute after a break on the left wing from Lwazi Mvovo
and a charge down the centre of the field by captain Keegan Daniel
Bosman's conversion attempt, which deflected off both posts, did not go over but the Sharks took an 11-6 lead.
And the visitors broke further clear after the first-half hooter sounded when scrumhalf Cobus Reinach snatched the ball from the back of a scrum and ran 20m to score.
Bosman again missed the conversion, but the Sharks held the advantage, going into the break ten points clear.
Jantjies, who scored all the Lions' points in the first hour of the match, kept the home side in the game with three more penalties as they narrowed the gap to just one point with a little less than 30 minutes left.
Bosman added six more points for the Sharks as they kept their noses in front, and Jantjies banged over one more as the Lions held on.
The hosts eventually snatched the lead with 11 minutes left when fullback Andries Coetzee stole away after a stunning chip kick and offloaded to winger Ruan Combrinck who dived over on the left.
Daniel argued that replacement flanker Ruan Kriel had knocked the ball on before the try was scored, but the match officials awarded the Lions five points.
Three minutes later Kriel scored their second try as they stormed clear to a six-point lead, which they held till the full-time whistle.
The Sharks, who picked up a bonus point, were left lying second in the standings with three rounds left in the competition.Scorers:
Tries: Ruan Combrinck and Jaco Kriel.
Penalties: Elton Jantjies
Tries: Odwa Ndungane
and Cobus Reinach.
Penalties: Meyer Bosman
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Deon Helberg
, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Jaco Taute, 11 Ruan Combrinck, 10 Elton Jantjies
, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Willie Britz, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 Franco Van der Merwe, 4 Michael Rhodes 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg (captain)
Substitutes: 16 Bandise Maku
, 17 Ruan Dreyer, 18 Etienne Oosthuizen, 19 Jaco Kriel, 20 Ross Cronje, 21 Butch James
, 22 Dylan des FountainSharks:
15 Louis Ludik, 14 Odwa Ndungane
, 13 Tim Whitehead, 12 Meyer Bosman
, 11 Lwazi Mvovo
, 10 Riaan Viljoen, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Keegan Daniel
(captain), 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Anton Bresler, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Dale Chadwick
Substitutes: 16 Monde Hadebe, 17 Julian Redelinghuys, 18 Jandre Marais, 19 Brynard Stander, 20 Charl McLeod, 21 Paul Jordaan, 22 Sbura Sithole