The Sharks were the more clinical side and took their chances better to win their ABSA Currie Cup match against the Lions by 30 points to 19.
The sparse crowd contained many supporters who were supporting the visitors, as seems to be the norm these days. The Lions started well and put lots of pressure on the Sharks, enjoying all of the possession and territory for most of the first 20 minutes. That said, they did not have any points to show for their all their dominance. It was the Sharks who opened the scoring in what was just about their first real attack, with Monty Dumond slotting a penalty. The Sharks the upped their game and showed excellent handling skills and good team interplay in a wonderful move that ended in Ryan Kankowski dotting down under the sticks. The Lions then had the ball in the Sharks half for an extended period but bad handling and poor option-taking let them down again. The Sharks second try came as Craig Burden burst over in the corner after some more excellent teamwork. Dumond slotted the conversion to make it 17-0 at the break. The Lions and their fans were left wondering how their team could so dominate the territorial and possession stakes and yet still trail by 17-0. The answer was the lack composure and patience that the Lions showed and a seeming inability to convert chances, which may have been due to good defensive effort from the Sharks.
The 2nd half started with Dumond again getting a shot at the posts which he goaled to make it 20-0 to the Sharks. The Lions again had a few opportunities to score and still did not take their chances, as the Sharks were forced to absorb a lot of pressure and their defense did look like cracking at times. Dumond then extended the Sharks lead as the Lions gave away a penalty for holding on. The Lions then eventually broke their drought in the 71st minute with Cobus Grobbelaar driving over in the corner. Earl Rose then proceeded to miss the conversion which was greeted with a chorus of boos. Three minutes later the Lions were on the scoreboard again as Derick Minnie scored in the corner, which was just reward for a player who had a strong game, although it was too late to alter the result, as the Sharks were awarded a penalty try as the Lions scrum crumbled after Jano Vermaak was scragged and forced to dot the ball down behind his own tryline. The conversion was dropkicked over as the Sharks went for the bonus point fourth try. Yet as they threw the ball around, Pieter Engelbrecht intercepted and scored under the posts.
The Lions were left to rue their failure to make their dominance in the territorial and possession stakes pay, which coach Hans Coetzee put down to a lack of patience and also indentified this as an area for them to work on, as he was happy that his team defended well. The Sharks were the team which showed more discipline and composure, and deservedly won a match that the Lions would have felt they could have, or should have won, especially given their dominance in some areas.
Tries: Cobus Grobbelaar, Derick Minnie, Pieter Engelbrecht
Conversions: Ruan Boshoff (2)
Tries: Ryan Kankowski, Craig Burden, penalty try
Conversions: Monty Dumond (3)
Penalties: Monty Dumond (3)
Final score: The Sharks 30 – The Lions 19Tweet