Sharks hang on to beat Lions
SUPER RUGBY UNLOCKED REPORT: The Sharks held on for a 19-16 win over the Lions in Durban in Round One of Super Rugby Unlocked on Friday.
Both teams scored one try in what was a game of two halves at Kings Park. Flyhalf Curwin Bosch kicked four successful penalty goals to help the Sharks to victory.
The home side dominated most of the first half and went into the break 13-3 ahead. However, the Lions were by far the better team in the second half. Were it not for a late missed penalty kick from Elton Jantjies, the game could have ended in a draw.
It was the Sharks who opened the scoring when Werner Kok was put into space down the touchline to run in for a try after some good work from Phepsi Buthelezi and captain Lukhanyo Am on his inside.
Bosch was successful with the conversion to make it 7-0 after six minutes.
After the home side dominated possession in the opening period, the Lions almost hit back in the 20th minute when Rabz Maxwane raced to the tryline after a turnover in the Sharks half. However, he was pushed into touch before he could get the ball down.
Instead, the Sharks increased their lead in the 24th minute when Bosch converted a long-range penalty into three points for a 10-0 lead. The Sharks flyhalf was on target again in the 31st minute to extend that lead to 13 points.
The Lions were finally off the mark in the 33rd minute after their captain and flyhalf Jantjies got three points with a penalty kick of his own.
The visitors had a final opportunity to cross the whitewash, but they could not crack the Sharks’ defence. At half-time, it was 13-3 to the Sharks.
Bosch had an opportunity to open the scoring in the second half, but he pushed his long-range kick wide in the 44th minute.
The Lions needed to be the next to score and they did after some magic from Jantjies. After getting a penalty a few metres from the Sharks’ tryline, Jantjies took it quickly with a pinpoint crosskick with the ball being gathered by Jamba Ulengo, who scored the try.
Jantjies added the extras with the conversion to reduce the Sharks’ lead to three points.
Bosch made it a six-point game with a penalty in the 57th minute before Jantjies cancelled it out with a penalty of his own in the 60th minute.
It was all level in the 71st minute when Jantjies converted his third penalty of the match.
However, Bosch regained the lead for the Sharks with another three-pointer in the 73rd minute.
Jantjies again had the chance to level the scores a few minutes later, but he hit the upright with his penalty kick in what proved to be a costly miss.
The Lions had scrum deep inside the Sharks half after the full-time hooter sounded, but they could not take advantage of it as they gave away a penalty, which ended the game.
Man of the match: Sikhumbuzo Notshe and Phepsi Buthelezi were the stars of the show for the Sharks in the first half with several strong carries. However, the award goes to Lions replacement scrumhalf Morné van den Berg, who increased the tempo for the visitors. He gave his team direction around the field and was a nuisance at the breakdown as well.
Pens: Bosch 4
Pen: Jantjies 3
Sharks: 15 Manie Libbok, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Lukhanyo Am (captain), 12 Marius Louw, 11 Werner Kok, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Phepsi Buthelezi, 6 James Venter, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Dylan Richardson, 1 Ox Nche.
Replacements: 16 Dan Jooste, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 JJ van der Mescht, 20 Mpilo Gumede, 21 Grant Williams, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Thaakir Abrahams.
Lions: 15 EW Viljoen, 14 Jamba Ulengo, 13 Burger Odendaal, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Rabz Maxwane, 10 Elton Jantjies (captain), 9 Dillon Smit, 8 Len Massyn, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Willem Alberts, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Sti Sithole.
Replacement: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 20 MJ Pelser, 21 Hacjivah Dayimani, 22 Morné van den Berg, 23 Gianni Lombard.
Referee: AJ Jacobs
Assistant referees: Paul Mente, Archie Sehlako
TMO: Rasta Rasivhenge