lions put up a fight

The Lions might have given it their best shot in a close-fought encounter with the Sharks at Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg, on Saturday night, but that first win of the season remains elusive.

The Lions might have given it their best shot in a close-fought encounter with the Sharks at Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg, on Saturday night, but that first win of the season remains elusive.

Though going down 28-32, the home side restored some pride in the red-and-white jersey.

There's no doubt the Sharks were the better side on the night and with their bonus point try coming up in only the 43rd minute, they may have taken the foot off the gas at times in the second half.

Conceding an opening try in only the third minute of play to Sharks fullback Patrick Lambie and the Lions supporters could have been excused for thinking it was going to be a repeat of last Saturday's loss to the Reds.

Thankfully for the locals it wasn't. With the pitch in immaculate condition and not a breath of wind, it was ideal conditions for both sides to throw the ball around, and they duly obliged.

Two penalties by an ever-improving Herkie Kruger kept the Lions in the early hunt before tries by Odwa Ndungane and Bismarck du Plessis pushed the visitors out to a 19-6 lead in only the first quarter of the match.

Bismarck, with his brother Jannie, was always at the forefront of any Sharks attacks.

A mistake by Springbok and Sharks left wing JP Pietersen was just the opening the Lions were looking for and Kruger showed his class to get winger Michael Killian away to touch down under the posts.

Two minutes later it was the turn of Lions lock Franco van der Merwe to get his name on the scoresheet.

The Sharks' Jacques Botes scored first in the second half but Derrick Minnie kept the Lions in the hunt with a great individual try.

In other Super 14 matches at the weekend, the Stormers turned on the flair when outclassing the Chiefs 49-15 in Hamilton on Friday morning while later in the day the Hurricanes pipped the Brumbies 23-13 in Canberra.

The first match on Saturday morning saw the Blues running out comfortable 38-17 winners over the Western Force in Auckland, while the Crusaders made mincemeat of the Cheetahs 45-6 in Christchurch.

The Bulls lost their second match of the season when they were outplayed 19-12 by the Reds in Brisbane.

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