The Sharks moved back to the top of the Super Rugby standings on Saturday as they edged a dour derby against the Lions 25-12.
The Sharks moved back to the top of the Super Rugby table on Saturday as they edged a dour South African derby against the Lions 25-12 at Ellis Park.
It wasn't pretty, far from it, as just the one try was scored from Sharks full-back Lwazi Mvovo as the two franchises opted for contact over enterprise.
That Mvovo try came in the 66th minute and was a rare bright spot in a derby match dominated by penalty attempts and predictable one out runners.
In a dire first period just six points were amassed in total as away fly-half Fred Zeilinga's early two penalties were later matched by Marnitz Boshoff.
The opener from Zeilinga, who later suffered an injury, came about due to Lions outside centre Lionel Mapoe being penalised on four minutes and the pivot doubled the lead a minute later.
However, the Lions recovered and notched two penalties of their own in the 20th and 33rd minute, the first coming following Sharks prop Jannie du Plessis being yellow carded for body checking Mapoe. Sharp-shooter Boshoff made no mistake with those two efforts before the Sharks almost crossed.
Visiting second-row Willem Alberts was the player denied a try by referee Craig Joubert moments before the half-time break as an earlier knock-on foiled the Springbok's score.
The second-half was also a battle of the boot as Boshoff now took on Francois Steyn.
Steyn it was who put the Sharks 9-6 up eight minutes after the restart, with a sweetly-struck penalty and he then added another in the 51st minute for a six-point margin at Ellis Park.
Boshoff cut the gap in Johannesburg just before the hour mark before centre Steyn replied four minutes later and then fly-half Boshoff hit back again sixteen minutes from time.
However, the kicking battle came to an abrupt end when Sharks full-back Mvovo produced a piece of individual brilliance for the game's first try. Mvovo received the ball from a turnover, chipped ahead just outside the 22 and collected shortly before the line for his five-pointer.
Although Steyn failed with the extras, the Sharks were now 22-12 ahead with fourteen minutes to go, which soon became 25-12 from a penalty which was how it finished.
Pen: Boshoff 4
Pen: Zeilinga 2, Steyn 4
Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Marnitz Boshoff, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (c), 7 Willie Britz, 6 Derick Minnie, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Martin Muller, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Schalk van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 MB Lusaseni, 20 Jaco Kriel, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Elton Jantjies, 23 Alwyn Hollenbach.
Sharks: 15 Lwazi Mvovo, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 S'bura Sithole, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Willem Alberts, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis (c), 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Etienne Oosthuizen, 20 Keegan Daniel, 21 Stefan Ungerer, 22 Paul Jordaan, 23 SP Marais.
Referee: Craig Joubert
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen, Stefan Breytenbach (South Africa)
Television match official: Marius Jonker (South Africa)