The Sharks scored four tries to rout the Lions 34-26 in their round-two Rainbow Cup SA encounter at Kings Park in Durban on Saturday.
Gameflow: The game was played in quite erratic and disorganised fashion. Those who watch the game for pure entertainment will tell you it was an exciting first half, but the lack of defence – primarily on the Lions’ part – was abysmal. The Sharks bagged three tries and the Lions two as the hosts went into the break 24-12 up.
The Lions wrestled the momentum from their opponents early in the second half. And their attempt at mounting a comeback would’ve been well aided by the Sharks’ overall ill-discipline which led to front rowers Thomas du Toit and Fez Mbatha being sent to the sin bin in quick succession. But, unfortunately, the Lions failed to make the most of their tw0-man advantage while the Sharks were down to 13. Instead, the hosts added a penalty to their tally during that time.
The teams would both add a converted try to their respective tallies before the hour mark, but after that the action fizzled out and it wasn’t before two minutes into stoppage time that the Lions would go over for a converted try to ensure they came away with two much-needed bonus points despite the defeat.
Bok watch: The Sharks’ new marquee signing, Siya Kolisi, wasn’t flashy but the Springbok captain played well enough and, more importantly, got much-needed game time. Sbu Nkosi played excellently, as did Lukhanyo Am, who again showed his star qualities, particularly in defence and at contesting the breakdown. Props Thomas du Toit and Ox Nche literally scrummed the Lions front row into the ground in the first half, but the Lions won back set-piece ascendancy towards the end. Curwin Bosch‘s display was a mixed bag – flawless off the kicking tee, but his open play was a little bit inconsistent.
Best of the rest: Sharks fullback Aphelele Fassi was rock solid at the back and made a few telling linebreaks to get his team on the front foot in attack. Fassi’s teammate Jaden Hendrikse, who came on as a second-half replacement, did his reputation no harm as he injected the pace and urgency into the Sharks’ play which was missing before. Lions centre Wandisile Simelane had an uncharacteristically quiet game, producing a performance that was nowhere near what he is capable of.
— SA Rugby magazine (@SARugbymag) May 8, 2021