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Gutsy Lions see off Sharks in Currie Cup thriller

MATCH REPORT: The Lions opened their 2024 Currie Cup season with a hard-fought 26-20 win over the Sharks in Durban.

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Both sides started at a frantic pace, with the first score coming through the boot of Lions flyhalf Kade Wolhuter in the 14th minute.

The Sharks scored the first try of the match through wing Jaco Williams after a break by centre Diego Apollis.

Sharks lock Coetzee le Roux put the Sharks further ahead with a try off a rolling maul in the 29th minute to give the Sharks a 10-3 lead with both tries being unconverted.

Lions flank Jarod Cairns struck back for the home side in the second half with a try after good interplay with Maxwane on the blindside to get over the line. Wolhuter kicked over the conversion.

The Sharks struck back through centre Diego Apollis, who received an offload by wing Yaw Penxe which flyhalf Lionel Cronjé converted.

Cronjé slotted another penalty in the 53rd minute to make it a two-point ball game.

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Wolhuter struck back with a successful penalty goal of his own to bring the visitors back in the lead with one point before replacement hooker Morné Brandon dotted down to give the Lions a six-point lead.

The Sharks dominated the last 15 minutes of territory and possession due to ill-discipline by the Lions. However, the visitors kept the hosts out until the 79th minute of the match when No.8 and captain Nick Hatton dotted down for the Sharks what seemed to be the match-winning score.

Lionel Cronjé missed the conversion to win the match as the Lions emerged victorious at Kings Park.

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Scorers:

For the Sharks:
Tries: Williams, Le Roux, Appollis, Hatton
Con: Cronjé
Pen: Cronjé

For the Lions:
Tries: Wolhuter, Cairns, Brandon
Cons: Wolhuter
Pens: Wolhuter 3

Teams:

Sharks: 15 Hakeem Kunene, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Diego Appollis, 12 Murray Koster, 11 Jaco Williams, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Bradley Davids, 8 Nick Hatton (captain), 7 Jannes Potgieter, 6 Tino Mavesere, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Coetzee Le Roux, 3 Khwezi Mona, 2 Daniel Jooste, 1 Abraham Reyneke.
Replacements: 16 Kerron van Vuuren, 17 Phatu Ganyane, 18 Mawande Mdanda, 19 Reinier Viljoen, 20 Siya Ningiza, 21 Tiaan Fourie, 22 Alwayno Visagie, 23 Muller du Plessis.

Lions: 15 Gianni Lombard, 14 Boldwin Hansen, 13 Manuel Rass, 12 Zander du Plessis, 11 Rabz Maxwane, 10 Kade Wolhuter, 9 Nico Steyn, 8 Izan Esterhuizen, 7 Ruan Venter, 6 Jarod Cairns, 5 Ruben Schoeman, 4 Raynard Roets, 3 RF Schoeman, 2 Jaco Visagie (captain), 1 Morgan Naudé.
Replacements: 16 Morné Brandon, 17 SJ Kotze, 18 Heiko Pohlmann, 19 Ruhan Straeuli, 20 Renzo du Plessis, 21 Layton Horn, 22 Rynhardt Jonker, 23 Tapiwa Mafura.

Referee: AJ Jacobs
TMO: Christie du Preez

In this episode of Walk the Talk, Jim Hamilton chats with double World Cup winner Damian de Allende about all things Springbok rugby, including RWC2023 and the upcoming Ireland series. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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