Sharks survive Lions fightback
CURRIE CUP REPORT: The Sharks survived a second-half fightback from the Golden Lions to win their semifinal 33-24 and advance to this year’s Currie Cup Final.
The Sharks outscored their opponents by four tries to three and they were sitting comfortably with a 23-3 lead early in the second half.
However, the Lions ensured that there would be an exciting finish to the game with tries from Courtnall Skosan (two) and Nic Groom.
The Sharks made the perfect start to the game when No.8 Daniel du Preez went over for an easy try after gathering a simple offload from Lwazi Mvovo five metres from the Lions tryline.
Robert du Preez converted the try and after four minutes the Sharks were 7-0 ahead.
The Sharks went further ahead in the 12th minute with a Robert du Preez penalty after sustained pressure inside the Golden Lions’ half.
The home side were better with ball in hand and they were soon in again when wing Sibusiso Nkosi went over for a try in the 21st minute after some great interplay between backs and forwards.
The Sharks powerful scrum won them another penalty and Robert du Preez stepped up to convert it to three points to make it 18-0 after 32 minutes.
The Golden Lions first points of the game came in the 35th minute via an Elton Jantjies penalty.
The Sharks had the chance to get their 18-point lead back before half-time. However, a long-range penalty kick from Curwin Bosch went wide.
It took just 14 seconds from the second half kick-off for the Sharks to score their third try.
The Lions failed to secure possession from the kick-off and the ball eventually found its way to Nkosi who ran in for his second try of the game.
With Sharks dominating all facets of the game the Lions needed to be the next to score and they did just that in the 56th minute went Nic Groom went over for a try after a powerful run by centre Lionel Mapoe through the midfield. Jantjies added the extras with the boot and the Lions were just 13 points behind.
The Lions reduced that lead further in the 63rd minute after an amazing passage of play which saw the possession change hands on a few occasions.
It first looked as if Aphiwe Dyantyi would race away for a try after an intercept. However, Aphelele Fassi caught him downfield with an amazing chase. The Sharks then had an opportunity to spread the ball wide, but a wayward pass saw the ball fly to Courtnall Skosan’s hands who sprinted in for an easy try, which Jantjies converted.
The Sharks were the next to score via a Robert du Preez penalty to make it 26-17 to home side.
However, the Lions continued their fightback minutes later when Jantjies found Skosan out wide with a neat cross kick which the wing gathered to run in for a try. Once again Jantjies stepped to convert the try and the Lions were just two points behind with nine minutes to go.
It was then the Sharks turn to hit back when No.8 Daniel du Preez crashed over for his second try of the game after a powerful run from the back of a scrum near the Lions’ tryline.
His brother Robert converted the try to the Sharks a nine-point lead in the 77th minute, which eventually secured the win.
Man of the match: The Sharks’ front row dominated the scrums, while the loose forwards led by Daniel du Preez, who scored two tries, were great in open play. Sibusiso Nkosi scored two tries as well. However, the award goes to Sharks centre Marius Louw who had a great all-round game.
Tries: D du Preez 2, Nkosi 2
Con: R du Preez 2
Pens: R du Preez 3
For Golden Lions:
Tries: Groom, Skosan 2
Cons: Jantjies 3
* The @rugby365com team unpacks the semifinals in this podcast …
Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Sibusiso Nkosi, 13 Jeremy Ward, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder (captain), 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Gideon Koegelenberg, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Armand van der Merwe, 1 Juan Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Mahlatse Ralepelle, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Luke Stringer, 20 Jean-Luc du Preez, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Leolin Zas, 23 Aphelele Fassi.
Golden Lions: 15 Sylvian Mahuza, 14 Courtnall Skosan, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Nic Groom (captain), 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Jo-Hanko de Villiers, 6 James Venter, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Rhyno Herbst, 3 Jacobie Adriaanse, 2 Pieter Jansen, 1 Sithembiso Sithole.
Replacements: 16 Tiaan van der Merwe, 17 Danie Mienie, 18 Chergin Fillies, 19 Vincent Tshituka, 20 Hacjivah Dayimani, 21 Dillon Smit, 22 Shaun Reynolds, 23 Wandisile Simelane
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: AJ Jacobs, Jaco Pretorius
TMO: Christie du Preez
Photo by: Wayne Seagreen