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Lions take a bite out of Sharks play off hopes

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Article Published: Saturday 11 June 2011






The Sharks were forced to fight back from a 21 point deficit to earn a 30-all draw against the Lions in Johannesburg.

The draw could cost them dearly as they now have to beat the Bulls next week at Loftus to stand any chance of reaching the play offs if the Bulls pick up any points against the Stormers and the Waratahs no further points.

Under the guidance of Butch James Lions raced away to an early lead against the Sharks who were completely outclassed in the first half and trailed 20-9 at half time.

The second half was a different story for the Sharks but their quest was helped by Butch James who was shown a yellow card for a high tackle on Keegan Daniel.

The Lions started strongly in the second half with a second try by Cobus Grobbelaar who was driven over the line by a maul as he was in the first half.

However as the match wore on the Sharks gathered momentum through key replacements and Butch James' yellow card which gave them the confidence to hit back at the Lions.

The visitors struggled to deal with the renewed energy with which the Lions played and were at one stage trailing 30-9 against the side that last won a Super Rugby match at home in May 2009.

A sublime late try by wing Lwazi Mvovo, in combination with some nerves of steal by flyhalf Patrick Lambie, ensured that the Sharks picked up two valuable log points ahead of next week's clash against the Bulls in Pretoria.

The Sharks opened the scoring through Lambie who converted a penalty in a closely contested first quarter of the match.

After equalising with a three-pointer from flyhalf Butch James, the Lions took charge of the match and dominated territorially.

They were quick to add three more as the Sharks struggled to adapt to the pace at which the game was being played.

The hosts crossed the try line on the 30-minute mark when flank Cobus Grobbelaar was shoved over the line by his pack.

James converted to give the Lions a 10-point lead with half-time in sight.

Through some outstanding midfield defence by the likes of centre Alwyn Hollenbach and skipper Doppies La Grange, the Sharks were kept at bay and secured only three more points before the interval.

The Lions did, however, have the last say as the sides headed into the tunnel.

Their second try of the match was the result of a well planned move involving prop Patric Cilliers who delivered a well timed pass to fullback Jaco Taute.

Taute burst through the Sharks defence before sending it wide to scrumhalf Jano Vermaak, who not only held on to the pass directed at his feet, but also managed to beat Mvovo to the line.

The Lions picked up where they left off after the break by adding 10 points to their 20-9 half-time lead.

Grobbelaar was again in the thick of things as his teammates pushed him over the try line from an attacking line-out.

Eventually Lambie slipped through the Lions' outstretched defence to put the Sharks right back in the match at 30-16.

Then, while the Lions were trying their best to stop a trademark Sharks counter attack, James went in high when trying to take flanker Keegan Daniel down and was subsequently sin-binned.

From that point onwards the Sharks took control, while the Lions relied heavily on their tacklers to keep the visitors out.

The Sharks bench also made an impact as both Bismarck du Plessis and centre Adi Jacobs were menacing with ball in hand.

Their next try was an easy run-in by Springbok wing JP Pietersen, while the most important of the match came just as the Lions thought they had it in the bag.

With little more than three minutes left on the clock, Mvovo raced over for the five-pointer that brought his side within two points of drawing level.

Lambie, who had not missed a single kick all night, slotted the conversion to draw the scores level.

Final Score Lions 30 Sharks 30

Scorers

Lions
Tries -C. Grobbelaar 2, J. Vermaak
Pen - B James 3
Con - B James 3
Drop -
Cards - B James (59th min) Yellow

Sharks
Tries - P Lambie, JP Pietersen, L Mvovo
Pen - P Lambie 3
Con - P Lambie 3
Drop -
Cards -

Attendance : 35486

Match Officials
Referee: Marius Jonker
Assistant referees: Jason Jafta, Johan Greeff
Television match official: Gerrie Coetzee

Teams

Lions:Jaco Taute, Dylan Des Fountain, Doppies la Grange (capt.), Alwyn Hollenbach, Deon van Rensburg, Butch James, Jano Vermaak, Josh Strauss, Derick Minnie, Cobus Grobbelaar, Franco van der Merwe/David de Villiers, Wikus van Heerden, Patric Cilliers, Bandise Maku, JC Janse van Rensburg.

Replacements: Edgar Marutlulle, Jacobie Adriaanse, David de Villiers/David Bulbring, Warren Whiteley, Michael Bondesio, Elton Jantjies, Michael Killian.


Sharks :1. Beast Mtawarira , 2. John Smit (Captain) , 3. Eugene van Staden , 4. Steven Sykes , 5. Gerhard Mostert , 6. Jacques Botes , 7. Keegan Daniel , 8. Ryan Kankowski , 9. Charl McLeod , 10. Patrick Lambie , 11. Lwazi Mvovo , 12. Meyer Bosman , 13. Stefan Terblanche , 14. JP Pietersen , 15. Louis Ludik

Replacements , 16. Bismarck du Plessis , 17. Wiehahn Herbst , 18. Alistair Hargreaves , 19. Marcell Coetzee , 20. Frederic Michalak , 21. Jacques-Louis Potgieter , 22. Adrian Jacobs

 
 
 
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