Sharks high and dry in Jozi

2015-04-12 06:00

23 (11) Lions - 21 (14) Sharks

The Lions rubbed salt into the wounds of the troubled Sharks with a win that was far more convincing than the score line suggested in their Super Rugby match at Emirates Airlines Park last night.

The Lions completely dominated the second half against a Sharks side trying to recover from a spate of bannings and injuries and nearly paid the price for some sloppy play near the goal line when the visitors got a late try.

After their anxious week, the Sharks had a further setback shortly before the start when No 8 Ryan Kankowski cried off because of an injured knee.

Willem Alberts moved up from the bench to flank, with Renaldo Bothma taking over at eighth man.

However, the Sharks were true to their promise that they would hit back and show there was nothing wrong with their team spirit, by scoring two excellent tries to lead 14-11.

The first, by Renaldo Bothma, was the result of accurate recycling and staying in control of the ball, and the next was a classic, as Lwazi Mvovo was put away on the outside for a glorious sprint to the corner.

That put the Sharks 14-6 in front, but crucially, the Lions, through Howard Mnisi, who had replaced Mark Richards, were able to convert a penalty kicked to touch into a try just before half-time to cut the gap to three points.

During the break, Lions coach Johan Ackermann lamented the fact that his men had not been able to complete the chances they created. The Lions responded with quick-fire tries in the space of three minutes – by Faf de Klerk and Harold Vorster – to hit the front, 23-14.

And adding to their woes, the Sharks also had André Esterhuizen yellow-carded for a late and dangerous tackle on Andries Coetzee.

But the Lions became too individualistic and were unable to put the finishing touches to their dominance of the possession and the field.

.?In Sydney, the Stormers produced their best performance of the season to lower the colours of the Waratahs, last year’s champions, 32-18.

After dropping their first two games on tour, the Stormers managed to find the formula to ally forceful defence with rapid counter-attacking to score the four tries needed for a bonus point and put their season back on track.

.?In Perth, Heinrich Brüssow’s striking orange scrum cap was constantly at the core of the action as the Cheetahs upset the Western Force 24-15 to put a better complexion on their unhappy tour before heading home to Bloemfontein.

In what was the 10th anniversary of the formation of the Force, the home side led 10-8 at the break, but the Cheetahs responded with 16 points in the last 30 minutes to claim victory.

Both sides scored two tries and the crucial difference was made by Cheetahs goal kicker Joe Pietersen, who contributed 14 points.

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