Lions down Sharks to extend Currie Cup run

Marco Wentzel tackles Kwagga Smith

The Golden Lions maintained their unbeaten run in the Currie Cup by beating
the Sharks 26-18 in Johannesburg stretching their run to seven straight wins.

The Sharks scored their first try of the match with less than 10-minutes remaining
on the clock and this was due to some outstanding defensive and tactical play
by the Lions.

The Lions dominated most facets of play throughout the contest but were unable
to convert many of the chances they created – making it a slightly flattering
final score for the Sharks.

Handling errors and poorly timed passes by the Lions side ensured that the
Sharks were often able to get out of ‘jail’ when a score looked
certain.

Centre Howard Mnisi was superb in both attack and defence while scrumhalf Ross
Cronje proved to be a handful for the Sharks tacklers.

But during the first 60 minutes it looked like one of those days where the
Lions were seemingly unable to get over the try-line while their discipline
also went out the window every time they entered the Sharks 22.

Instead, flyhalf Boshoff was tasked with keeping the scoreboard ticking and
the pivot gave his team the lead in the just before the half-hour mark.

His opposite number returned the favour in the 33rd minute with a penalty that
levelled matters at 6-6.

Sharks boss Gary Gold, a former Springbok forwards coach, would not have been
pleased with his pack who were again blown up more often than their opponents.

The introduction of Dale Chadwick in the second half seemed to make a difference
on that front, but Gold had no cure for the terrific work Lions flank Kwagga
Smith conducted at the breakdowns.

Boshoff extended his team’s lead to 9-6 in the 44th minute and added
another in 52nd minute to take his team nine points clear.

The Sharks responded from the kick-off and managed to close the gap back to
just three, two minutes after the Lions had to settle for a penalty after coming
within inches of scoring what would have been the first try of the match.

Having come so close on so many occasions, the deadlock was finally broken
in the 60th minute when lock Lourens Erasmus split two Sharks defenders before
dotting down under the posts.

With the conversion, the Lions enjoyed a 19-6 lead.

They extended that advantage in the 64th minute when wing Courtnall Skosan
capitalised on the superb running line of centre Stokkies Hanekom before delivering
a precision finish.

The Sharks left it very late (73rd minute) when Pietersen rounded-off a move
he started deep inside his own half to make it 26-11.

The men from Durban suddenly started finding space and scored their second
through Francois Kleinhans who dived over as the match drew to a close.

There was, however, some controversy after the try was scored and instead of
returning the kick-off the Lions had a penalty at goal from the halfway line.

Final Score Golden Lions 26 (6) Sharks 18 (3)

Scorers

Golden Lions
Tries: Lourens Erasmus, Courtnal Skosan
Conversions: Marnitz Boshoff (2)
Penalties: Boshoff (4)

Sharks
Tries: Joe Pietersen, Francois Kleinhans
Conversion: Pietersen
Penalties: Pietersen (2)

Match Official
Referee:
Jaco van Heerden

Teams

Golden Lions

15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Stokkies Hanekom, 12 Howard Mnisi,
11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Fabian Booysen, 7
Kwagga Smith, 6 Jaco Kriel (c), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Lourens Erasmus, 3 Julian
Redelinghuys, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Ruan Dreyer.

Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Jacques van Rooyen, 18 MB Lusaseni, 19
Stephan de Witt, 20 Jaco van der Walt, 21 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 22 Anthony
Volmink.

Sharks

15 Odwa Ndungane, 14 Wandile Mjekevu, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Andre Esterhuizen,
11 S’bura Sithole, 10 Joe Pietersen, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Philip van der Walt,
7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Francois Kleinhans, 5 Marco Wentzel (c), 4 Etienne Oosthuizen,
3 Gerhard Engelbrecht, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Thomas du Toit.

Replacements: 16 Monde Hadebe, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Dave McDuling, 19 Daniel
du Preez, 20 Michael Claassens, 21 Heimar Williams, 22 Garth April.

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