Lions hang on to beat Sharks and top Currie Cup

The Golden Lions held on to beat the Natal Sharks in the Currie Cup 28-22 at Coca-Cola Park in Johannesburg on Saturday.


The result drops the Sharks into second place and the Golden Lions go to the top of the standings.


The Sharks were leading with 10 minutes remaining on the clock but the Lions scored two tries to snatch the lead in front of a 9857 strong crowd.


The Sharks ended strongly and put the Lions tryline under severe pressure in the closing stages but the Lions held on for victory after which Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies was named man of the match.


Currie Cup Defending champions the Golden Lions have now opened up a three-point lead at the top of the Currie Cup table over the Sharks.


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 20-metre scrum and stormed over.


Bosman again missed the conversion, but the Sharks held the advantage, going into the break at 16-6.


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.


Final Score Golden Lions 28 (16) Natal Sharks 22 (6)


Scorers


Golden Lions
Ruan Combrinck, Jaco Kriel
Penalties: Elton Jantjies (6).


Natal Sharks
Tries: Odwa Ndungane, Cobus Reinach
Penalties: Meyer Bosman (4).


Teams


Golden Lions


Andries Coetzee, Deon Helberg, Lionel Mapoe, Alwyn Hollenbach/Jaco Taute, Ruan Combrinck, Elton Jantjies, Michael Bondesio, Warren Whiteley, Willie Britz, Cobus Grobbelaar, Franco Van der Merwe, Michael Rhodes/Etienne Oosthuizen, Jacobie Adriaanse, Callie Visagie, JC Janse van Rensburg (captain)


Replacements: Bandise Maku, Ruan Dreyer, Etienne Oosthuizen/Ruan Botha, Jaco Kriel, Ross Cronje, Butch James, Jaco Taute/Dylan des Fountain.


Sharks


Louis Ludik, Odwa Ndungane, Tim Whitehead, Meyer Bosman, Lwazi Mvovo, Riaan Viljoen, Cobus Reinach, Keegan Daniel (captain), Jean Deysel, Jacques Botes, Anton Bresler, Steven Sykes, Wiehahn Herbst, Craig Burden, Dale Chadwick.


Replacements: Monde Hadebe, Julian Redelinghuys, Jandre Marais, Brynard Stander, Charl McLeod, Paul Jordaan, S’bura Sithole.

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