Sharks preserve unbeaten record muscling past Lions at Ellis Park

20 February 2022 - 09:13
By Liam Del Carme
Curwin Gertse of the Sharks on the offensive but prevented from scoring a try by Vincent Tshituka of the Lions in the Currie Cup match at Ellis Park on February 19 2022.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images Curwin Gertse of the Sharks on the offensive but prevented from scoring a try by Vincent Tshituka of the Lions in the Currie Cup match at Ellis Park on February 19 2022.

The Sharks remain unbeaten in this year's Currie Cup after they downed the Lions 43-31 at Ellis Park on Saturday.

The Sharks, who held a 20-7 lead at the break, never looked in danger of losing the match but the Lions showed commendable pluck and enterprise in the second half when a lesser side might have dropped their bundle.

The Sharks, however, boasted far more senior rugby experience in their ranks and gradually gained the upper hand. They showed greater urgency in getting off the line in defence and the way in which they hit the gainline, but some of their good work was undone by three yellow cards.

It was the Lions who made the initial breakthrough, albeit completely against the run of play. Flyhalf Vaughan Isaacs, from close to his goalline, kicked ahead and found Sharks fullback Yaw Penxe slightly out of position. It allowed Lions right wing Boldwin Hansen to run onto the ball and dash for the try line.

Poor defence from Hansen helped let Marnus Potgieter in two minutes later as the Sharks wiped the deficit.

A rare sight then helped the Sharks shoot into the lead. After winning a tight head Sharks scrumhalf Cameron Wright broke blindside, got rid of a defender and scored a try that was converted by Boeta Chamberlain.

The Sharks, thanks largely to the contributions of Khutha Mchunu, Fez Mbatha and Khwezi Mona, gradually gained the upper hand at scrum time but their lead was also richly deserved given the amount of territory and possession they held.

They put the Lions line-out under huge pressure with the hosts winning just half of their first half feeds.

The visitors could potentially have scored from another dominant scrum had Wright not opted to hang onto the ball instead of feeding support runners to his right.

Though the Sharks had 66 percent of the possession by the time half time loomed, they were yet to deliver the killer blow.

The Lions showed promise when they turned over possession but they did not have enough front-foot ball to get a proper foothold.

The Lions, however, were increasingly prone to error and their high penalty count eventually took its toll. The always hustling and bustling Thembelani Bholi found reward for his toil when he barged over the try line in the 45th minute to stretch the visitors’ advance.

Just when it looked like the match was beyond the reach of the home side, Wright was yellow-carded and Emmanuel Tshituka stretched his already elongated body for a try.

The suspicion that the Lions weren't spent yet was further underlined when Divan Rossouw scored a splendid try after some good lead-up work from Vincent Tshituka.

The Sharks, though, always had enough in the tank.


Lions (31) — Tries: Boldwin Hansen, Emmanuel Tshituka, Divan Rossouw, Morne Brandon, James Mollentze. Conversions: Vaughen Isaacs (3).

Sharks (43) — Tries: Marnus Potgieter, Cameron Wright, Thembelani Bholi, Mpilo Gumede, Dan Jooste. Conversions: Boeta Chamberlain (2), Sanele Nohamba. Penalties: Chamberlain (2), Nohamba (2).