Lions keep on winning

Date published: April 11 2015

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The Lions made it back-to-back South African derby wins within a week after overcoming the Sharks 23-21 at Ellis Park.

Three tries in seven minutes transformed the contest as a whole, with the Lions going from tamed to tremendous and in the process leaving their visitors shellshocked.

Ellis Park always brings the best out of the Lions and while their running game didn't materalise in last week's one-point win over the Bulls, they were in full flow here once Howard Mnisi struck just before half-time.

Faf de Klerk played a major role in upping the tempo with his sniping runs which the Sharks failed to control. 

Even an alleged laser from the stands in the eyes of Elton Jantjies couldn't prevent the onslaught in the second half as the Lions made it five wins from their last six matches.

The Sharks had been eager to forget last week's thrashing from the Crusaders and started with real intent, despite the setbacks in the week leading up to Saturday's game with Pat Lambie ruled out for six weeks and Jean Deysel suspended.

Two quick penalties from Jantjies were cancelled out by a try for Renaldo Bothma. The number eight was a late replacement for Ryan Kankowski and he spun out of two tackles to go over.

There was real concern for Lions winger Mark Richards after he was knocked out cold by a collision with Willem Alberts, but to the relief of everyone watching he was seen up and about on the sidelines by the second half.

When Lwazi Mvovo skipped away using his pace to score a second try ten minutes later the Sharks fans must have been smiling again, but then the Lions' fightback began. 

Mnisi used his power to get through the defensive line after running onto an inside ball from Jantjies, but the Sharks were still ahead 14-11 at half-time.

The Lions started the second half as they finished the first, sprinting at their opposition and asking questions of a Sharks defence which capitulated last week.

Ruan Combrinck's piercing run caused havoc for the Sharks and they couldn't scramble in time to stop De Klerk sneaking over by the posts to put the home side ahead.

Riding the momentum the Lions added a third try when Harold Vorster used his power and pace to cross for try number three, fending off Waylon Murray's tackle with ease.

Needing to settle down, indiscipline again started to creep into the Sharks game and after a late tackle too many Andre Esterhuizen was in the bin.

The Lions couldn't inflict any further damage on the Sharks while they were down a man as the game somewhat lost its flow, with De Klerk's absence telling for the Lions.

Restored to a full compliment the Sharks hunted for a losing bonus point to try and take something back to Durban, with Thomas du Toit believing he'd scored and having his effort confirmed by the TMO.

Fred Zeilinga's conversion gave them hope trailing by two points with less than two minutes remaining, but it wasn't to be as he failed to add a penalty with time up on the clock.

This though was another positive day for the Lions, who after early season jitters have repeatedlty delivered and are now in contention to top the South African Conference at the end of the year.

The scorers:

For Lions:
Tries: Mnisi, De Klerk, Vorster
Cons: Jantjies
Pens: Jantjies 2

For Sharks:

Tries: Bothma, Mvovo, Du Toit

Cons: Zeilinga 3

Yellow Card: Esterhuizen

Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Mark Richards, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Robert Kruger, 20 Derick Minnie, 21 Lohan Jacobs, 22 Marnitz Boshoff, 23 Howard Mnisi

Sharks: 15 Odwa Ndungane, 14 S'bura Sithole, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Renaldo Bothma, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Marco Wentzel (captain), 4 Mouritz Botha, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Dale Chadwick
Replacements: 16 Monde Hadebe, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Matt Stevens, 19 Etienne Oosthuizen, 20 Lubabalo Mtyanda, 21 Conrad Hoffmann, 22 Lionel Cronje, 23 Jack Wilson

Referee: Stuart Berry (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Jaco van Heerden, Rodney Boneparte (both South Africa)
TMO: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)

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