JOHANNESBURG – For the fifth time in as many matches the Lions fought back in the second half after trailing at the interval, but like the week before they were unable to register a dramatic come-from-behind win.
After a fairly bland 80 minutes it was the visiting Sharks who finished on top, by two points, as the Bulls had done by five points the week before – also at Ellis Park.
With a three-from-five record the Lions are still well placed in third spot on the Currie Cup points table, while the Sharks, who’re now also three-from-five, are fourth in the standings.
The top four and semi-finalists will thus be decided in the final round of matches this coming weekend, with top-of-the-table Griquas hosting the Lions, Free State entertaining Western Province and the Bulls welcoming the Sharks.
In yesterday’s action, the Lions got off to the perfect star when flyhalf Shaun Reynolds went over for his team’s first try inside four minutes and he’d add a penalty later in the opening half, but that’s all the home team could show for their efforts in the 40 minutes.
While the Lions did a lot of playing, they lacked in their execution and it was the Sharks who deservedly led at the break.
Young scrumhalf Sanele Nohamba had a first half to remember as he scored a try which he also converted, while he also added a penalty.
Sharks co-captain, centre Jeremy Ward, also enjoyed a good first 40 minutes as he not only made the pass to Nohamba for his try but he scored one himself, taking a pass from veteran wing Lwazi Mvovo who did some good work out wide.
And young Sharks flyhalf Boeta Chamberlain ensured the visitors to Joburg led by 10 at the interval after he slotted a 40 metre drop-goal just before the break.
The Lions though, as they’ve done all competition, fought back strongly after the break. First, fullback Tyrone Green scored a try in the corner before Reynolds got his second try after another strong run-in from close to the tryline and a penalty. In that time the Sharks could only manage three points, via the boot of Nohamba, and with 10 minutes to play the teams were level at 23-all.
Ward then scored his team’s third try, after collecting a smart grubber by replacement Rhyno Smith, who also slotted the conversion, and while there was time for the Lions to also score another five-pointer, through replacement Marnus Schoeman, Dillon Smit failed to land the conversion and the Sharks hung on for victory.
Lions (10) 28
Tries: Reynolds (2), Green, Schoeman; Conversion: Reynolds; Penalties: Reynolds (2)
Sharks (20) 30
Tries: Ward (2), Nohamba; Conversions: Nohamba (2), Smith; Penalties: Nohamba (2); Drop-goal: Chamberlain