The Sharks were the form team and top of the overall standings when Super Rugby was halted in March due to Coronavirus. The Lions were, however, stuck at the other end of the table.
The Sharks have won their last three Super Rugby games against the Lions after having lost each of their seven encounters prior.
- The last – and only previous – time the Sharks won more consecutive games against the Lions was a five-game stretch from 2007 to 2011.
- The Durban-based franchise has won their last four Super Rugby matches coming into Super Rugby Unlocked; it’s their longest winning streak since a stretch of six wins across the 2015 and 2016 campaigns.
- The Johannesburg side, however, has lost their previous four away South African derbies in Super Rugby after having been undefeated in their last 11 (W10, D1).
- The Sharks gained 387m and beat 23 defenders per game in the 2020 Super Rugby season, the most of any South African team in either category.
- Elton Jantjies (Lions) has finished with a try assist in four of his last five Super Rugby encounters with the Sharks; however, he’s not scored a try of his own in that time and has managed a tally of just 27 points(9 con, 3 pen goals) in that span.
We are waiting for the kick-off.
1.00: PEEEEP! We are underway in round one of Super Rugby Unlocked at Kings Park in Durban.
3.00: The Sharks, luckily, win a penalty after Curwin Bosch ran down a blind alley and got isolated. Bosch boots the ball to the Lions 22 where they win a penalty advantage from the lineout after Len Massyn strays offside. Sharks opt for another lineout.
5.00: TRY! Werner Kok scores on debut. Pepsi Buthelezi handed off a defender, popped Lukhanyo Am, who drew the last defender, sending Kok away down the touchline to score. Dylan Richardson overthrew his jumper, and the Lions cleared. A kicking battle ensued, the Sharks won possession for the third time before sending the ball wide through the hands to Kok. 5-0
7.00: CONVERSION! Bosch adds the extras. 7-0
10.00: The Sharks win a penalty thanks to Kok’s seven’s skills on the wing to win the penalty. Bosch kicks to the 22.
11.00: Willem Alberts aka “The Bone Collector” puts pressure on scrumhalf Sanele Nohamba, who knocks on at the base of the ruck.
12.00: The first scrum of the game needs to be reset – welcome back Super Rugby!
13.00: BIG SCRUM by the Lions pack, they bulldoze the Sharks forwards, and relieve the pressure. Morné van den Berg comes on for the injured Dillon Smit at halfback for the visitors.
16.00: A mistake by Elton Jantjies almost leads to a breakaway score for the Sharks, however, Kok’s pass is forward.
19.00: Manie Libbok gives away a penalty around halfway after being isolated. Morné van den Berg did the good work at the breakdown.
20.00: NO TRY! Just as the Sharks did with their first red-zone lineout, the Lions overthrow their jumpers; however, the visitors regain possession, send the ball wide to Rabz Maxwane. The winger is tackled into touch by Sikhumbuzo Notshe, but the ref goes back for an offside in the build-up.
21.00: Oh, dear. Jaco Kriel and Jaco Visagie combine to knock the ball forward as the Lions went to their driving maul.
23.00: Willem Alberts’ side-cleanout leads to a kickable penalty on the halfway line for the hosts.
24.00: PENALTY! Bosch slots the long-range penalty to increase his team’s lead to 10. 10-0
26.00: Sikhumbuzo Notshe takes a quick-tap penalty and races through several back-tracking defenders before being taken down in the 22. The ball is sent wide to Bosch, but the flyhalf drops the slippery ball.
29.00: The Sharks are starting to get a grip in the scrums, winning their first penalty of the evening. Bosch calls for the tee.
31.00: PENALTY! Bosch lands his second penalty of the night. 13-0
32.00: The Sharks give away a penalty from the restart, and surprisingly, the Lions opt for a shot at goal.
33.00: PENALTY! Jantjies puts his team on the board. 13-3
35.00: Besides some scrappy handling, and a few reset scrums, this has been an entertaining half of rugby, especially considering all the dust and cobwebs that need to be shed. Clever play from the Lions leads to a scrum outside their 22.
37.00: The Sharks think they have won a tighthead, but the referee awards a penalty to the Joburg side because Ox Nche lost his footing.
38.00: Offsides by Bosch allows Jantjies to kick to the corner – this is the Lions we remember.
39.00: A superb driving maul leads to another penalty. The Sharks plead their case, but Nche’s steal is overturned. Jantjies goes to the corner again.
40.00: Big defence by the hosts, they repel the maul and seven-phase attack before winning possession from a steal. Bosch clears as the hooter sounds.
The halftime score is Sharks 13 Lions 3
41.00: PEEEEP! We are back underway on South Africa’s east coast where the Sharks lead by 10.
43.00: Len Massyn is – harshly – pinged for a double movement. It allows Bosch to take a shot from about 42 metres out in front.
44.00: MISS! Bosch pulls his kick wide. 13-3
47.00: A poor lineout by the Sharks after winning a lineout inside the Lions’ half. It’s a scrum to Ivan van Rooyen’s team.
48.00: Burger Odendaal breaks free after a scrum free-kick, however, Jamba Ulengo knocks on when it looked certain he was away to score. The Lions do win a penalty from the first phase after the scrum. Jantjies calls for the tee.
49.00: MISS! Jantjies misses the 40-metre penalty to the right of the uprights. 13-3
51.00: TRY! Jamba Ulengo redeems himself with a try in the corner. Jantjies spotted the winger alone with Bosch and kicked a pin-point penalty into the hands of Ulengo. That was stunning by the Springboks flyhalf. 13-8
53.00: CONVERSION! Jantjies slots the touchline conversion to reduce the gap to three. 13-10
56.00: The home team win a penalty, Bosch calls for the tee.
57.00: PENALTY! Bosch makes no mistake this time. 16-10
60.00: PENALTY! Jantjies kicks his second penalty goal to bring the scores back to within three. 16-13
63.00: The wind is wreaking havoc with the kickers and catchers as players struggle to judge the flight of the ball. A cheeky kick from Jantjies almost goes into Bosche’s hands. The Lions do get the lineout, and the skipper clears to halfway.
65.00: The game has started to open up as the sides look to go wide. The handling could be better or there would be more scores. The players continue to struggle with the swirling wind.
67.00: There are tries to be had, but the handling is poor, almost wasteful at times. The players’ fitness is going to be interesting in the final quarter of an hour. Expect the five pointers to come.
69.00: The Lions have a lineout, 15 metres from the try line. They win a penalty advantage before Jantjies misses a drop-kick.
71.00: PENALTY! Jantjies levels from close range. 16-16
72.00: A tackler does not roll away, giving Bosch a chance from long range.
73.00: PENALTY! Bosch’s kick sails through the uprights; no problem with the wind for the standoff. 19-16
75.00: The Lions win a kickable penalty, Jantjies calls for the tee.
77.00: MISS! The ball hits the post and rebounds out. The Lions regather, but the Sharks earn a penalty at the following melee. 19-16
79.00: The Sharks march down the field with a big driving maul, but they concede a penalty. Jantjies kicks to the opposition’s 22 – one last push for the visitors.
80.00: Penalty to the Lions after both teams make mistakes at the death. Jantjies wants a scrum. YES!
81.00: A big scrum from the Sharks does not lead to a penalty; instead, the ref says both front rows stood up, so we go again. What drama!
83.00: HUGE SCRUM by the Sharks, who won the penalty. Bosch boots the ball high into the stands for the win. Super Rugby is back with a bang!
The final score is Sharks 19 (13) Lions 16 (3)
Tries – Kok
Pen – Bosch (4)
Con – Bosch
Tries – Ulengo
Pen – Jantjies (3)
Con – Jantjies
Referee: AJ Jacobs
Assistant Ref 1: Paul Mente
Assistant Ref 2: Archie Sehlako
TMO: Rasta Rasivhenge
15 Manie Libbok, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Lukhanyo Am (captain), 12 Marius Louw, 11 Werner Kok, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Phepsi Buthelezi, 6 James Venter, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Dylan Richardson, 1 Ox Nche
Replacements: 16 Dan Jooste, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 JJ van der Mescht, 20 Mpilo Gumede, 21 Grant Williams, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Thaakir Abrahams
15 EW Viljoen, 14 Jamba Ulengo, 13 Burger Odendaal, 12 Dan Kriel, 11 Rabz Maxwane, 10 Elton Jantjies (captain), 9 Dillon Smit, 8 Len Massyn, 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Willem Alberts, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Jaco Visagie, 1 Sti Sithole
Replacements: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Wiehahn Herbst, 19 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 20 MJ Pelser, 21 Hacjivah Dayimani, 22 Morné van den Berg, 23 Gianni Lombard