Makazole Mapimpi scored a decisive long-range try, while Curwin Bosch contributed 17 points as the Sharks claimed an important 27-17 win over the Lions in Durban on Saturday. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
This is a vital win for the Sharks in the context of the log standings. Having fallen to the bottom of the closely-contested SA conference by the time kick-off arrived, this result sees them suddenly shoot to second place in the local standings.
Over the first 25 minutes of this encounter, the Sharks produced almost the perfect performance. Their flat, aggressive style applied plenty of pressure on the Lions, while they enjoyed ascendancy up front, particularly at scrum time.
The reward duly came through two tries – one an intercept to Bosch and another to Dan du Preez through sheer force at a lineout drive – which allowed the hosts to open up a handy 14-0 lead.
However, to the Lions’ credit, they found a way to battle their way back into proceedings once they were finally able to enjoy some possession, while Lionel Mapoe would at least score a timely try to cut the deficit in half before the break.
At the start of the second half, the Sharks then had two golden opportunities that went abegging, and they were made to pay when Aphiwe Dyantyi created a superb try that was ultimately finished off by Cyle Brink. Suddenly, it was all square at the 50-minute mark.
A game-defining moment came not long after, though. The Lions were hot on attack 5m from the Sharks’ tryline. Elton Jantjies attempted a floated pass, but instead of finding his winger out wide, Mapimpi snapped up the ball and darted 95m to score.
From there, Jantjies and Bosch traded penalties, with the Sharks ultimately closing out a deserved win.
Sharks – Tries: Curwin Bosch, Dan du Preez, Makazole Mapimpi. Conversions: Bosch (3). Penalties: Bosch (2).
Lions – Tries: Lionel Mapoe, Cyle Brink. Conversion: Elton Jantjies (2). Penalty: Jantjies.
Sharks – 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Louis Schreuder (c), 8 Dan du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Mzamo Majola.
Subs: 16 Dylan Richardson, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Robert du Preez, 23 Kobus van Wyk.
Lions – 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Courtnall Skosan, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Kwagga Smith (c), 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Stephan Lewies, 3 Johannes Jonker, 2 Jan-Henning Campher, 1 Dylan Smith.
Subs: 16 Piet Jansen, 17 Sti Sithole, 18 Carlü Sadie, 19 Reinhard Nothnagel, 20 Vincent Tshituka, 21 Hacjivah Dayimani, 22 Shaun Reynolds, 23 Tyrone Green.
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images