The Sharks kept themselves in the hunt for a home semi-final by claiming a 30-28 victory over the Lions in Johannesburg on Sunday. DYLAN JACK reports.
A brace from Jeremy Ward to go with a 15-point haul from young scrumhalf Sanele Nohamba saw the Sharks claim a nailbiting yet crucial win at Ellis Park.
The Durban-based team move above Western Province into fourth place on the table and are three points off the second placed Free State Cheetahs. It sets up a massive last round of action that will see the Sharks travel to Loftus to face the Bulls, while the Cheetahs host Western Province.
While the Lions started promisingly through a try from Sean Reynolds, who scored a total of 18 points in the match, they soon found themselves pinned back and fell behind when Ward went over after a Nohamba penalty.
Ward then turned provider as he put Nohamba through a gap and the youngster sprinted clear for the Sharks’ second try of the day. Reynolds narrowed the gap to seven points with his first penalty but that was nullified when Boeta Chamberlain calmly slotted a long-range drop goal.
The Lions started the second half as they did the first, with Tyrone Green this time racing clear to score in the corner after being released by Manni Rass. Reynolds and Nohamba traded penalties, before a long period of pressure saw Reynolds score his second try to level the scores at 23-23.
The Sharks’ efforts to get back into the match took a blow when Aphelele Fassi was concussed after being charged down by Rass while chasing his own kick over the top. The visitors were still able to regain the lead as Ward grabbed his brace when he gathered Rhyno Smith’s grubber.
However, the Lions were not to be outdone and made it a two-point game when Marnus Schoeman scored from the back of a driving maul. It was not to be for the home side though as Schoeman knocked on after the full-time hooter.
Golden Lions – Tries: Sean Reynolds (2), Tyrone Green, Marnus Schoeman. Conversion: Reynolds. Penalties: Reynolds (2).
Sharks – Tries: Jeremy Ward (2), Sanele Nohamba. Conversions: Nohamba (2), Rhyno Smith. Penalties: Nohamba (2). Drop goal: Boeta Chamberlain
Golden Lions – 15 Tyrone Green, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Wandisile Simelane, 12 Manni Rass, 11 Stean Pienaar, 10 Shaun Reynolds, 9 Ross Cronje (c), 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Len Massyn, 6 James Venter, 5 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Frans van Wyk, 2 Pieter Jansen, 1 Sti Sithole.
Subs: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Nathan McBeth, 18 Jacobe Adriaanse, 19 Rhyno Herbst, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Marnus Schoeman, 22 Dillon Smit, 23 Duncan Matthews.
Sharks – 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Jeremy Ward (c-c), 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Boeta Chamberlain, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Tera Mtembu (c-c), 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Phendulani Buthelezi, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 John Hubert-Meyer, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Mzamo Majola.
Subs: 16 Dylan Richardson, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Khutha Mchunu, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Evan Roos, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Rhyno Smith, 23 Leolin Zas.
Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images