Lions ‘gutted’ with Currie Cup campaign
The Lions head coach Mziwakhe Nkosi was left gutted following his team’s 21-29 defeat to the Sharks during the Currie Cup Round 13 clash at Kings Park on Saturday.
The Lions needed a win to keep their Currie Cup play-off hopes alive, but could not overcome the Sharks in Durban.
The defeat signals the end of the Lions’ campaign with one league match remaining.
The Johannesburg side travel to Welkom to take on the bottom-of-the-log Griffons next week.
A bonus-point win could see the Lions conclude the season in fifth place – pending the outcome of Griquas and Western Province’s matches against Pumas and Sharks, respectively.
“I’m gutted that we have not made the play-offs,” Lions head coach Mziwakhe Nkosi said, adding: “[The play-offs] was a prerequisite for the franchise so I’m truly disappointed with the end result of the game.
“I am grateful to the guys who put their bodies on the line for the better part of 14 weeks.
“[Now] we have to fight for the highest possible finish in the Currie Cup.”
Dogfight at Kings Park
There was very little separating the two sides at Kings Park.
The Lions rushed to a 14-0 lead after tries by Emmanuel Tshituka and Ruan Dreyer. However, Sharks worked their way back into the game – scoring their first try in the 28th minute.
At the break, the scoreline was 14-all before the Sharks took the lead in the second stanza.
The lead was shortlived when Lions scrumhalf Sanele Nohamba finished off a great run by prop Rhynardt Runsburger to level the score at 21-21.
It was a dramatic ending, but a 72nd-minute try by Ntuthuko Mchunu and a penalty by Nevaldo Fleurs handed the Sharks the victory.
“We had a good first half, started quickly out of the blocks. However, error-strewn towards the end of the first half,” Nkosi said.
“We allowed [the Sharks] back in the game and it was a dogfight from then on.
“We spent a considerable amount of time in the second half in their half or 22 and didn’t take the changes.
“They dealt with the pressure, got the win and that is why they are top of the log.
The coach has pinpointed two areas where his side needs to improve.
“Our plans were well laid, in terms of taking away the Sharks’ kicking game, their maul, their set-piece, we were good there,” Nkosi noted.
“Our discipline let us down a little bit and our execution let us down.
“But I would not change anything, I think our plan was well and if we followed them probably we would have perhaps turned the corner.”
— rugby365.com (@rugby365com) June 4, 2023