Sharks demolish 14-man Lions
CURRIE CUP MATCH REPORT: The Sharks came back from being 5-31 down, to score a 47-31 victory over the Golden Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday.
Aided by a red card to Lions hooker Robbie Coetzee, the Sharks scored six tries and 42 unanswered points as they run rampant in the second half.
The victory completed one of the most amazing weeks of the year for the Durban-based outfit - the Sharks beating Griquas (41-3), the Blue Bulls (28-20) and the Lions in the space of eight days, the latter two matches in Pretoria and Johannesburg.
It saw the Sharks overtake Western Province at the top of the Currie Cup standings.
The Lions dominated the first half and looked in complete control, as their pack dominated the set pieces.
However, after the red card to Coetzee and a string of injuries, the Lions not only lost their composure, they were reduced to uncontested scrums.
The Sharks, in stark contrast, came out in the second half a determined and focused team - taking control of the set pieces and running the home team ragged.
When Jacques Vermeulen crossed over for his first in the 51st minute, the Lions were still well in command at 31-12, but Coetzee kicked out a foot which found Vermeulen’s head and referee Egon Seconds had little choice but so send the hooker for an early shower.
It could have been so different for the Lions, who were fluid in attack and resolute in defence in the opening stages of this encounter.
The flexed their muscles and blitzed their guests with a trio of tries in seven minutes - the pick of the bunch coming from wing Anthony Volmink, who crossed over for an easy finish after he was put into space on the back of a mesmerising run from fullback Sylvian Mahuza.
Another score from replacement scrumhalf Marco Janse van Vuuren seemed to put the game to bed early - with Lubabalo Mtembu's try right on half-time looking little more than a consolation for the Sharks, as they went into the shed 5-24 in arrears.
Both sides traded tries after the restart.
First Lions flank Fabian Booysen completed a well-worked move off the back of yet another stolen ball (31-5), before Jacques Vermeulen did well to score from a Sharks line-out.
Then Coetzee saw red and the Lions folded as wave after wave of Shark attacks left them scrambling in defence and without a clue how to stop them.
The Sharks big men took full advantage of their numerical supremacy and secured a deserved penalty try for repeated scrum infringements on the line, before Louis Schreuder cut inside from midfield after receiving a flat pass from the base of a solid platform.
With just over a quarter of an hour to go, the score read 31-26 in favour of the home team but momentum was well and truly with the men in black.
As the home crowd watched on in disbelief, scoreboard parity was restored when the burly John-Hubert Meyer crashed over after more forward dominance.
When Garth April nudged his side into the lead for the first time in the match, glum faces began to ripple throughout the ground.
Galvanised by the severity of their situation, the Lions rallied and once again threatened on attack with some barnstorming runs from Janse van Rensburg and Bobby de Wee.
However, the Sharks would put the game to bed when Vermeulen added his second against the run of play with only five minutes to go.
Keegan Daniel completed the rout with his side's seventh of the game with just minutes to play.
The new Lions coaching team will be licking their wounds this week and will surely be giving some stern words to their hooker who cost them dearly here tonight.
They find themselves in sixth position on the log with just one win in four matches and will need to find their groove before heading to Cape Town next week.
The Sharks sit pretty at the top and will enjoy a break next weekend.
Man of the match: You can look at the Workrate of Hacjivah Dayimani, centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg tried hard and flyhalf Jaco van der Walt had his moments. Sharks lock and captain Ruan Botha lead from the front, while Keegan Daniel enjoyed the game when it opened up in the second half. However, the star of the show was Sharks flank Jacques Vermeulen - who not only scored two tries, but showed the physical presence that rattled the Lions pack.
For the Golden Lions:
Tries: Janse van Rensburg, Nel, Volmink, Janse van Vuuren, Booysen
Cons: Van der Walt 2
For the Sharks:
Tries: Mtembu, Vermeulen 2, Penalty try, Schreuder, Meyer, Daniel
Cons: April 5, penalty try does not require a conversion
Red card: Robbie Coetzee (Golden Lions, 51 - foul play, kicking an opponent)
Golden Lions: 15 Sylvian Mahuza, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Jacques Nel, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Dillon Smit, 8 Ryan Kankowski (captain), 7 Fabian Booysen, 6 Cyle Brink, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Robert Kruger, 3 Johannes Jonker, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Corne Fourie.
Replacements: 16 Michael Willemse, 17 Sithembiso Sithole, 18 Bobby de Wee, 19 Hacjivah Dayimani, 20 Marco Janse van Vuuren, 21 Siya Masuku, 22 Aphiwe Dyantyi.
Sharks: 15 Garth April, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Sibusiso Nkosi, 10 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Lubabalo Mtembu, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Ruan Botha (captain), 4 Tyler Paul, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Thomas du Toit.
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Jean Droste, 20 Wian Vosloo, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Inny-Christian Radebe.
Referee: Egon Seconds
Assistant referees: Jaco Pretorius, Eduan Nel
TMO: Willie Vos