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Lions compound Sharks' woes

URC REPORT: The Lions ensured that they stayed in the fight for a top-eight finish in the United Rugby Championship after they thumped the Sharks 40-10 in their Round 11 encounter in Johannesburg on Saturday.

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Ivan van Rooyen’s side outscored their opponents by six tries to one in a match that had a delay at half-time due to inclement weather.

For the Sharks it was their 10th defeat of the season and they will spend some more time rooted at the bottom of the standings.

What will be worrying for the visitors is that they were unable to score a point in the second half.

The visitors applied some early pressure with ball in hand and they opened the scoring in the fourth minute with a Siya Masuku penalty.

However, that lead did not last long as Sanele Nohamba produced some magic to score the first try of the game.

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The scrumhalf, after initially fumbling the ball backwards, weaved his way through the Sharks’ defence on his way to the tryline in the seventh minute. Jordan Hendrikse added the extra two points with the conversion

The Lions were finding plenty of space out wide and they were in again in the 12th minute.

This time a perfectly waited crosskick from Nohamba sent the ball to Francke Horn who sprinted downfield before passing on his inside to JC Pretorius who ran in for the second try of the game.

That lead was increased in the 21st minute when fullback Quan Horn scored a try in the corner after some sustained pressure inside the Sharks’ 22. Hendrikse missed his first conversion after that score.

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After absorbing some more pressure, the Sharks finally managed to hit back with Eduan Keyter scoring after some great vision and passing by Masuku in the midfield. The flyhalf also added the extras with the conversion.

With just under three minutes left until half-time, the Sharks thought they were in again after Aphelele Fassi was put into space to score. However, it was cancelled after the TMO spotted some foul play by Ntuthuko Mchunu in the build-up.

At half-time, it was 19-10 to the Lions.

After a lengthy delay due to that inclement weather, the game restarted with the second half and as they did in the first half, the Sharks were threatening with ball in hand.

However, they were reduced to 14 men in the 51st minute after their captain Bongi Mbonambi was shown a yellow card for collapsing a maul.

With momentum on their side, the Lions eventually secured the bonus point after replacement prop Conraad van Vuuren crashed over for a try in the 64th minute.

Hendrikse made it a 16-point lead with his conversion.

Things got worse for the Sharks a few minutes later when Erich Cronje collected the ball after a Morne van den Berg chip kick to score his team’s fifth try.

Hanru Sirgel eventually wrapped things up by scoring his team’s sixth try of the match.

Man of the match: Wing Eduan Keyter was a constant threat out wide for the Sharks and he scored their only try of the game. No.8 Francke Horn was a powerhouse for the Lions once again. He got his team over the gain-line on several occasions. His loose forward partners, Ruan Venter and JC Pretorius, were also great with ball in hand in the match. However, the award must go to Sanele Nohamba who produced another influential performance. He scored his team’s opening try and then he played a big role in the next two scores as well.

The scorers:

For Lions:
Tries: Nohamba, Pretorius, Q Horn, Van Vuuren, Cronje, Sirgel
Cons: Hendrikse 5

For Sharks:
Try: Keyter
Con: Masuku
Pen: Masuku

Yellow card: Bongi Mbonambi (Sharks, 51′ – cynical play, collapsing the maul)

Teams:

Lions: 15 Quan Horn, 14 Richard Kriel, 13 Henco van Wyk, 12 Marius Louw (captain), 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Jordan Hendrikse, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Francke Horn, 7 Ruan Venter, 6 JC Pretorius, 5 Darrien Landsberg, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Asenathi Ntlabakanye, 2 PJ Botha, 1 JP Smith.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Conraad van Vuuren, 19 Reinhard Nothnagel, 20 Emmanuel Tshituka, 21 Hanru Sirgel, 22 Morné van den Berg, 23 Erich Cronje.

Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Eduan Keyter, 13 Ethan Hooker, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Siya Masuku, 9 Grant Williams, 8 George Cronje, 7 Vince Tshituka, 6 James Venter, 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 4 Corne Rahl, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Bongi Mbonambi (captain), 1 Ntuthuko Mchunu.
Replacements: 16 Fez Mbatha, 17 Dian Bleuler, 18 Khwezi Mona, 19 Jeandre Labuschagne, 20 Tino Mavesere, 21 Phepsi Buthelezi, 22 Tiaan Fourie, 23 Curwin Bosch.

Referee: Aimee Barrett-Theron (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Cwengile Jadezweni (South Africa) and Christopher Allison (South Africa)
TMO: Ben Crouse (South Africa)

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