Cape Town -The
Lions secured top spot in Africa Conference 2 on Saturday after they outclassed
the Sharks 37-10 in a one-sided spectacle at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.
As it happened: Lions v Sharks
27-0 at the break thanks to tries by Ruan Combrinck, Rohan Janse van Rensburg,
Malcolm Marx and Ruan Ackermann, the Lions were flying.
looked like they would continue their dominance after the interval when Jaco
Kriel went over but the Sharks bounced back well late on, as crossings from
Lwazi Mvovo and Chiliboy Ralepelle gave some respectability to the scoreline in
an otherwise forgetful day for the visitors.
visitors were dealt a pre-game blow when inside centre Andre Esterhuizen was
ruled out with a hamstring injury sustained in training, before they suffered
another setback with just six minutes on the match clock as Paul Jordaan
hobbled from the action with a knee injury.
left them with little time to regroup and the Lions offered no sympathy as they
opened the account via a penalty from Elton Jantjies.
15 minutes the Lions broke the try-scoring deadlock when a slick passage
resulted in South Africa wing Combrinck strolling over on the right.
was this time off-target, but it was still a healthy 8-0 lead that was fully
deserved for the Super Rugby title hopefuls.
was a catalyst for the Lions to kick on and they did just that on the half-hour
mark when sustained pressure led to centre Janse van Rensburg crossing from
close-range before Marx was sent over by Ackermann after Sharks wing Lwazi
Mvovo lost a bouncing ball in back-play.
20-0 one feared for the Sharks, not just in this game but also their hopes of
making the play-offs.
the Lions weren't done, adding their fourth try thanks to Ackermann's strong
carry under the posts. Jantjies converted for a comfortable 27-0 advantage at
lead grew to 30 points soon after the break when Jantjies slotted a penalty but
one always felt that another try would be required to make doubly sure the
Sharks could not deny them a try bonus point. Judging from the opening 50
minutes there was a feeling it was to come.
only were the Lions dominant in the backline, their scrum and lineout drive
were vastly superior to the Sharks. The latter led to that fifth try as the
ball was moved from the back of a maul to the opposite sideline where Kriel
crashed over to make it 37-0 with the extras.
were then made by the Lions as their front-row and also Jantjies were replaced
and the Sharks soon capitalised, with Mvovo crossing on the left on 63 minutes to
ensure they wouldn't go home to Durban with a zero by their name. Another try
and the Lions would be sweating.
ten minutes remaining that was the case when replacement hooker Chiliboy
Ralepelle crossed from a driving maul, making it five tries to two.
the Lions did well to hold on to their bonus point and in fact finished the
stronger in another impressive performance from Johan Ackermann's side.
In next weekend’s action, the Lions host the Southern Kings
in Johannesburg, while the Sharks entertain the Cheetahs in Durban.
Tries: Ruan Combrinck, Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Malcolm Marx, Ruan Ackermann, Jaco Kriel
Conversions: Elton Jantjies (3)
Penalties: Jantjies (2)
Tries: Lwazi Mvovo, Chiliboy Ralepelle
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylan Smith
Substitutes: 16 Armand Van Der Merwe,17 Corne Fourie, 18 Jacques van Rooyen,19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Sylvian Mahuza