The Lions were crowned 2011 Currie Cup champions after an emphatic 42-16 win over the Sharks in Johannesburg on Saturday.
The Lions were crowned Currie Cup champions after an emphatic 42-16 win over the Sharks in Johannesburg.
This was the Johannesburg-based team's first victory in the competition since 1999 and they outscored the Sharks by three tries to one.
Fly-half Elton Jantjies was his side's hero, contributing 24 points via five penalties, three conversions and a drop-goal.
The Lions dominated proceedings from the outset and led 19-6 at half-time.
They raced into a 3-0 lead after Jantjies slotted a penalty and two minutes later Jaco Taute extended their lead when he hit a monster penalty from a distance of 57 metres.
The Sharks struck back with a penalty of their own by Frederic Michalak five minutes later but after that the Lions took the game by the scruff of the neck with two further penalties by Jantjies and a converted try by Michael Killian.
The speedy left wing scored his try after Doppies la Grange did well in the build-up by slipping past the Sharks defence before getting his pass away to the Killian who got in for an easy try.
With the score at 19-3, the Lions were cruising but the Sharks got an opportunity to get back into the match when CJ van der Linde received a yellow card for a dangerous tackle on Keegan Daniel.
The Sharks tried to take advantage of their numerical advantage and came close to crossing the Lions' try-line shortly after Van der Linde's exit but resilient defending by the hosts kept them at bay.
After the break, the Sharks upped the ante and Michalak narrowed the gap with a penalty in the 44th minute before Jantjies cancelled his effort out with a well taken drop-goal shortly afterwards.
A converted Willem Alberts try brought the Sharks back into the match and for a while it looked like they were going to repeat the comeback which they made against the Cheetahs in last week's semi-final.
But their lack of discipline, especially at the breakdown and in the scrums, cost them dearly. Beast Mtawarira in particular was penalised several times for illegal scrummaging.
Jantjies punished these indiscretions with three further penalties and Lions tighthead prop Pat Cilliers barged over the whitewash in the 55th minute to edge his team closer to victory.
The hosts sealed the win in fine style when Taute scored in the left hand corner after Killian cut the Sharks defence to shreds with a fine attacking run.
Man of the match: Although this was a good team effort Lions fly-half Elton Jantjies gave a faultless goal-kickicking display which paved the way to victory for the hosts.
Moment of the match: After Willem Alberts had brought the Sharks back into the match with his try, Pat Cilliers took the wind out of their sails when he burrowed his way over the try-line. Jantjies converted to give his side a 29-16 lead, which meant the Sharks had to score two converted tries to take the lead.
Villain of the match: Referee Mark Lawrence did not need to use any of his cards for ill discipline but Beast Mtawarira's indiscipline at the scrums cost his side dearly especially when they were trying to get back into the game in the second half.
Tries: Killian, Cilliers, Taute
Cons: Jantjies 3
Pens: Jantjies 5, Taute
Pens: Michalak 3
Yellow card: CJ van de Linde (Lions – 32nd minute)
Golden Lions: 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Doppies la Grange, 12 Alwyn Hollenbach, 11 Michael Killian, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Michael Bondesio, 8 Joshua Strauss (c), 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Wikus van Heerden, 3 Patric Cilliers, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 CJ Van der Linde
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Jacobie Adriaanse, 18 Warren Whiteley, 19 Cobus Grobbelaar, 20 Butch James, 21 Dylan des Fountain, 22 James Kamana
Sharks: 15 Pat Lambie, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Stefan Terblanche, 12 Marius Joubert, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Conrad Hoffmann, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Keegan Daniel (c), 5 Ross Skeate, 4 Jean Deysel, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Beast Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Eugene van Staden, 18 Alistair Hargreaves, 19 Marcell Coetzee, 20 Ross Cronje, 21 Adi Jacobs, 22 Lwazi Mvovo.
Referee: Mark Lawrence