Sharks end Lions' sizzling URC run in Durban

Morne van den Berg of the Lions tries to keep the ball their United Rugby Championship cash with Sharks at Kings Park in Durban on Saturday.
Morne van den Berg of the Lions tries to keep the ball their United Rugby Championship cash with Sharks at Kings Park in Durban on Saturday.
Image: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

The Sharks seem to have finally mastered playing in Durban’s terrible weather conditions after they put an end to the Lions’ red-hot United Rugby Championship (URC) form at a wet Kings Park Stadium on Saturday.

The Durban-based franchise defeated the Lions 37-10 and moved to second spot in the SA Shield, one point behind the Stormers. They are sixth overall on the URC log table.

Gerbrandt Grobler, Phepsi Buthelezi, Bongi Mbonambi and Sikhumbuzo Notshe scored the tries for the Sharks while Curwin Bosch was on form with his boot. Bosch scored 17 points in the clash.

The young Lions scored only one try through Henco van Wyk.

Man-of-the-match Buthelezi and scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse were the standout performers in the clash in Durban.

Coming into the clash, the men from Johannesburg enjoyed an impressive run of four victories on the trot against European sides that toured SA.

The Sharks had just returned to winning ways with a victory over the lowly-ranked Dragons after their surprise 21-5 defeat to Edinburgh in Durban.

The Sharks were expected to perform better in very difficult and wet weather conditions in Durban as the Springbok-laden team has played in the same weather conditions over the past weeks.

While the Lions did their best to stay in the game and challenge the Sharks in the opening half, the hosts dominated the first stanza scoring two tries through Grobler seven minutes into the clash and loose-forward Buthelezi on 11 minutes.

Sharks scrumhalf Hendrikse, who was up against his younger brother Jordan, was very involved in both tries.

In Grobler’s try, Jaden combined well with try-wizard Makazole Mapimpi to set up the lock for the first try of the match.

Jaden’s slick kick pass found Marius Louw a few metres away from the try line and the latter passed to the powerful Buthelezi who went over the chalk.

Sharks flyhalf Bosch was spot on with his kick as he finished the first half with a clean record of two conversions and a penalty.

Jordan’s 22nd-minute penalty kick resulted in the Lions not heading to the break with no points to their name as the score was 17-3.

The Lions will also feel hard done by Jannie du Plessis, the most experienced player in their team, for his unnecessary off-the-ball tackle after he just went for Reniel Hugo instead of Grobler who was charging towards the try line.

In the second half, the Sharks came back looking to hold on for victory and try to make it a bonus-point win while the Lions hoped for a big comeback.

However, the Sharks kept on building scoreboard pressure at every opportunity they could find.

Bosch scored his second penalty of the day four minutes into the final half while the Sharks got closer to the bonus-point win when Bok hooker Mbonambi scored the team’s third try from a maul.

Mbonambi will hope his scoring run continues as he was also on the scoresheet in the Sharks’ win over the Dragons.

The bonus point was achieved when Notshe came off the bench and made his presence felt on the pitch by scoring a try with only 10 minutes left on the clock.

After countless attempts, the youthful Lions were only able to cross the whitewash when replacement Van Wyk beat Bosch to score on 76 minutes.


Sharks: Tries: Gerbrandt Grobler, Phepsi Buthelezi, Bongi Mbonambi, Sikhumbuzo Notshe Conversion: Curwin Bosch (4) Penalties: Bosch (3)

Lions: Tries:Henco van Wyk Conversion: Jordan Hendrikse Penalty: Hendrikse

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