Fortuitous Sharks leave it late
Fortuitous Sharks leave it lateSHARE
The Sharks required a late intercept try to secure a 33-25 win over the Golden Lions in Durban on Friday.
The Lions, who often ran the ball from deep inside their own half, will feel aggrieved that they let slip a game they had controlled for large parts of the second half.
However, in the end they were their own worst enemies and gifted the winning try to the Sharks inside the last five minutes.
The Sharks, despite dominating the set pieces in the early stages, found themselves under increasing pressure in the scrums once veteran Springbok CJ van der Linde came on after the break.
The home team's defence was also porous, while the Lions revelled in the time and space afforded to their fleet-footed backs.
However, the Lions were often their own worst enemies with a sting of penalties and some silly errors.
It was one of those errors, an intercept pass inside their 22, that gave the Sharks a commanding lead inside the last 10 minutes and ultimately the win.
And it also, on two occasions, cost them tries – through the intervention of the TMO.
The Lions had the better of the opening quarter – a brace of tries by flyer Anthony Volmink, the first starting with a sublime pass from Marnitz Boshoff five metres from his own line that put Volmink into space, the Lions wing leaving the Sharks flat-footed as he sprinted 95 metres for one of the best tries to the year.
The second was an intercept deep in Sharks territory and the Lions had 14-6 lead, the Sharks' points coming from two Andrew James penalties.
The Sharks got their first try in the 21st minute, when Brynard Stander wormed his way over and the second after Heimar Williams went over on the half-hour mark in a heap of bodies and requiring confirmation from the TMO.
The Sharks took a 20-17 lead into the half-time break, but not before fullback Odwa Ndungane was yellow carded for a ridiculous tackle that saw Lions flyhalf Elton Jantjies requiring treated for a bloodied face.
The Lions scored first after the break – a sublime chip-and-collect from loose forward Jaco Kriel, as he sprinted over for his team's third try. Jantjies failed to add the extras, but the Lions were back in the lead.
James regained the lead for the Sharks almost immediately, slotting his third penalty of the match.
As the game moved into the final quarter, the Lions launched another furious raid on the Sharks line, with Marnitz Boshoff going over. However, the TMO saw obstructive running by the Lions and the try was not awarded.
However, Jantjies managed to regain the lead with a penalty in the 66th minute.
And with less than 10 minutes to go replacement Fred Zeilinga reclaimed the lea with a penalty, before SP Marais intercepted a floating pass inside the Lions 2 and Zeilinga added the extras – 33-25, with five minutes left on the clock.
The Lions were now playing for two bonus points, with Chrysander Botha going over and again the TMO ruled against them.
Man of the match: Jean Deysel was the Sharks' most effective ball carrier and certainly came close to taking the award. Elton Jantjies had probably his best game of the year, enjoying the freedom afforded to him, while Anthony Volmink caused all kinds of havoc in the Sharks defence and scored arguably the best try of the year. However, our award goes to World Cup-winning Springbok CJ van der Linde – who had a huge influence on the game when he came on as a second-half replacement, not just showing all his experience, but allowing the Lions pack to take control.
For the Sharks:
Tries: Stander, Williams, Marais
Cons: James 2, Zeilinga
Pens: James 3, Zeilinga
For the Golden Lions:
Tries: Volmink 2, Kriel
Cons: Jantjies 2
Pens: Jantjies 2
Yellow card: Odwa Ndungane (Sharks, 37 – foul play, dangerous tackle)
Sharks: 15 Odwa Ndungane, 14 SP Marais, 13 Louis Ludik, 12 Heimar Williams, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Butch James, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Jacques Botes (captain), 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Brynard Stander, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 Edwin Hewitt, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Rayno Gerber, 18 Peet Marais, 19 Tera Mtembu, 20 Cobus Reinach, 21 Fred Zeilinga, 22 Jaco van Tonder.
Golden Lions: 15 Marnitz Boshoff, 14 Deon Helberg, 13 Robert De Bruin, 12 Dylan Des Fountain, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Guy Cronje, 8 Willie Britz, 7 Derick Minnie (captain), 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Chris van Zyl, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 Jacques Van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 CJ van der Linde, 18 Lambert Groenewald, 19 Warwick Tecklenburg, 20 Tian Meyer, 21 Lionel Cronje, 22 Chrysander Botha.
Referee: Ben Crouse
Assistant referees: Stuart Berry, Reuben Rossouw
TMO: Deon van Blommestein