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Six star Sharks maul Lions

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The Sharks thrashed the Lions 5-42 with a dominant display in the rain at Ellis Park, Johannesburg.

The bonus-point victory ended a seven-game losing streak for the Sharks away against South African opposition going back to 2017 when the Durban side beat the Cheetahs.

Tendai Mtawarira became the most capped South African Super Rugby player, passing Adriaan Strauss as he made his 157th appearance for the Sharks.

The Sharks ran in six tries to one, keeping the Lions scoreless for 79 minutes at fortress Ellis Park.

It was the most abject display under Swys de Bruin, whose side had no answer to the visitors’ intensity.

The game seemed to be played inside the home team’s 22. Robert du Preez’s charges rocked up and dominated territory and possession, which was sometimes as high as 85 per cent for both stats.

The Sharks out-gained the Lions 626 run metres to 328, finishing with 60% possession and a high 72% territory.

It reduced during the last quarter of an hour when the hosts had some ball, and their guests were already checking in for their flight back to Durban.

Curwin Bosch was superb, creating from deep while Makazole Mapimpi was his lethal best, scoring twice in twice.

Lukhanyo Am and Andre Esterhuizen wreaked havoc to the Lions’ midfield.

Game over by halftime

The Sharks scored four tries in the first half as they raced to a 25-point lead. Jacques Vermeulen opened the scoring after Rhyno Herbst’s brain-freeze.

Video Highlights: Lions versus Sharks

The lock gave away three penalties in quick succession, and referee Mike Fraser had no option but to send him to the naughty step.

Mapimpi crossed soon afterwards before Am danced his way through the Lions. Mapimpi’s second before halftime put the game to bed.

It could have been more had Robert du Preez not missed three conversions and Bosch a long-range penalty.

Bosch did land a long-range effort soon after the interval to take the Sharks’ lead to four goals.

The heavens opened after the break. The players struggled to hold and pass the ball, and the game broke down.

Thomas du Toit did crash over for his team’s fifth try before Sylvian Mahuza scored late to ironic cheers from the Joburg faithful.

Aphelele Fassi finished off an excellent display from the east coast franchise with a score in the corner after the hooter, which must have sounded like sweet music to the Lions.

Lions did not turn up after bye-week

De Bruin’s side travelled back from Singapore and had two weeks’ rest and time to prepare for an inconsistent Sharks side that has struggled to win away from home in recent South African derbies.

From the first whistle to the last, they dominated their hosts and camped inside their 22 for 40 minutes with more than 80% territory.

The Lions withstood barrage after barrage, but they could not keep the men in white out.

How the sharks did not score until the 19th-minute, is one of rugby’s great mysteries.

Elton Jantjies kicked a clearance down the middle of the pitch that Mapimpi collected outside his 22.

He played Bosch because he has a better boot, but the fullback had other ideas.

The 21-year-old maverick danced past a rushing defender and sent Am away. Three phases later, Esterhuizen sent the ball wide to Vermeulen crashed over near the corner.

Bosch was at it again. This time he broke from his 22, gliding through two props and running away to the Lions’ 10-metre.

He drew Andries Coetzee before sending the supporting Mapimpi, who beat Tyrone Green (playing on the right wing) down the touchline for the Sharks’ second score in three minutes.

The home team were mince when Am cruised his way through, five minutes later, after linking up with Hyron Andrews.

Robert du Preez added a penalty to make it 20-nil to the visitors in the 31st-minute.

It was raining, raining tries in Egoli

Andrews was involved again, carrying the ball through a gap to the try line, but the strong lock was tackled short.

Daniel du Preez, playing halfback, recycled the ball and sent a cut-out pass to Mapimpi, who dived in the corner for his double.

Rob du Preez missed his third wide conversion, but his side was in total control. The visitors had scored 25 points in 19 minutes.

Heavens open, making playing conditions tough to handle

Torrential rain fell for periods of the second half. The field cut up, so scrumming was an issue as well as the handling.

Bosch kicked a long-range penalty in the eight minutes after the restart giving his side a four-goal lead.

Heavy rain always levels the playing field; it gave the Lions some respite as the Sharks took their foot off the gas.

The home team still couldn’t get out of their half, and they hardly touched the ball, making the fixture look like an attacking drill.

The Lions were still ragged

Hacjivah Dayimani dropped a floated intercept to highlight their ineptitude.

Bosch missed a monster penalty in the 62nd-minute.

It seemed the visitors were feeling sorry for the Lions by taking shots at goal instead of putting their foot on their opponent’s throats.

The Lions’ forwards managed to sack a Sharks’ driving maul and not give away a penalty; however, two phases afterwards Du Toit barged his way over.

No defenders were defending the ruck, and so the big man picked up the ball and dived over the whitewash. Pathetic from the hosts.

With 90 seconds to play, Nic Groom found some space on the short side and sent Mahuza away down the sideline.

The Lions couldn’t even finish the game on their terms. Instead, they let the Durbanites have the last word.

The Sharks attacked inside the opposition’s 22. Rob du Preez played Esterhuizen, who in turn, combined with Bosch.

The fullback took the ball to the try line and – unselfishly – drew the defenders allowing Fassi an easy five-pointer to bring up the forty-burger.

Final Score: Lions 5 (0) Sharks 42 (25)

Scorers

Lions
Tries – Mahuza
Pen –
Con –
Drop –
Cards – Herbst (Yellow, 11′)

Sharks
Tries – Vermeulen, Mapimpi (2), Am, Du Toit, Fassi
Pen – R. Du Preez, Bosch
Con – R. Du Preez, Bosch (2)
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials

Match Officials
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant Ref 1: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant Ref 2: Brendon Pickerill
TMO: Willie Vos

Teams

Lions

15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Tyrone Green, 13 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 12 Lionel Mapoe, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Ruan Vermaak, 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Rhyno Herbst, 3 Carlu Sadie, 2 Malcolm Marx (captain), 1 Sithembiso Sithole.

Replacements: 16 Jan-Henning Campher, 17 Nathan McBeth, 18 Frans van Wyk, 19 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 20 Stephan Lewies, 21 Nic Groom, 22 Hacjivah Dayimani, 23 Sylvian Mahuza.

Sharks

15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Lwazi Mvovo, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder (captain), 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Luke Stringer, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Replacements: 16 Fez Mbatha, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 JJ van der Mescht, 20 Philip van der Walt, 21 Grant Williams, 22 Kobus van Wyk, 23 Aphelele Fassi.

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