The Sharks overcame horrendous conditions and an improved second-half showing from the Lions to claim a 29-12 win in Durban, writes BRENTON CHELIN.
Apart from a 20-minute period where they let the Lions back into the match at the start of the second half, it was a very efficient performance from Gary Gold's team on Saturday. The Sharks enjoyed a greater share of possession and territory in the first half courtesy of some accurate line-kicking and good set-piece work, before grinding out a bonus point in the second.
The visitors were simply unable to get into the game and were pinned back by Pat Lambie and Cobus Reinach, whose contestable kicks allowed the Sharks to maintain the pressure and play the game in the right areas of the field.
While the Lions showed more intensity in the second half, it was always going to be a difficult ask to chase the game after a pre-match torrential downpour meant the match was played in treacherous conditions.
The Sharks enjoyed a comfortable 15-6 lead at half-time courtesy of tries from Odwa Ndungane and Reinach, while the Lions kept in touch via the boot of Marnitz Boshoff.
Two Boshoff penalties in the first quarter of the second half pulled the Lions within three points, but that would be as close as they would come.
The Sharks' dominance at the scrums eventually told as the Lions crumbled in the final quarter, with the hosts grabbing two maul tries through Marcell Coetzee.
The victory was the Sharks' ninth consecutive home win against the Lions, all coming by 12 points or more.
Sharks – Tries: Odwa Ndungane, Cobus Reinach, Marcell Coetzee (2). Conversions: Pat Lambie (3). Penalty: Lambie.
Lions – Penalties: Marnitz Boshoff (4).
Sharks – 15 SP Marais, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Heimar Williams, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Tera Mtembu, 7 Renaldo Bothma, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Lubabalo Mtyanda, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis (c), 1 Dale Chadwick.
Subs – 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Matt Stevens, 19 Marco Wentzel, 20 Jean Deysel, 21 Conrad Hoffmann, 22 Fred Zeilinga, 23 André Esterhuizen.
Lions – 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (c), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Martin Muller, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1. Jacques van Rooyen.
Subs: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Schalk van der Merwe, 18 Julian Redelinghuys, 19 JP du Preez, 20 Ruaan Lerm, 21 Faf de Klerk, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Harold Vorster.
Photo: Sabelo Mngoma/BackpagePix