The Sharks continued their recent good form with with a 47-31 victory over the Golden Lions in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Tries from Lubabalo Mtembu, Louis Schreuder, John-Hubert Meyer, Keegan Daniel and a Jacques Vermeulen brace as well as a penalty try proved too much for the Lions who scored through Rohan Janse Van Rensburg, Jacques Nel, Anthony Volmink, Marco Janse Van Vuuren and Fabian Booysen.
The away side wasted a 31-5 lead after hooker Robbie Coetzee was red carded. Following that dismissal, the home side scored five unanswered tries and romped to an astonishing comeback victory.
After holding onto possession for a lengthy period, Janse van Rensburg scored a try for the Lions and the first points of the game. The gargantuan inside centre gathered a cheeky grubber from fly-half Jaco Van Der Walt, who later converted the try, following a perfectly timed run through the Sharks defensive line.
After 14 minutes, the away side scored another try. Outside centre Nel chipped and chased his ball for over 50 metres and gathered it to score after Sharks centurion winger Odwa Ndungane failed to stop the ball's movement. Van Der Walt converted again, this time from a tight, wide left angle to make the scoreline read 14-0.
Minutes later the Lions scored a third, this time unconverted try through winger Volminck. Full-back Sylvian Mahuza dummied and looped around numerous Sharks defenders before Volminck eventually received the ball to score unopposed in the right corner. Reserve forward Janse Van Vuuren scored the fourth, diving over from the base of a ruck to score with an open try line in front of him. Van Der Walt made it 24-0.
After the half-time hooter, the home side pulled one back. Mtembu scored after collecting an inside pass from Bernhard Janse van Rensburg. Garth April missed the conversion from directly in front of the posts which left the half-time score at 24-5 to the Lions.
The Lions picked up where they left off as early as the 44th minute with another converted try. Suprisingly hot stepping from reserve forward Hacjivah Dayimani ended with a pass to support runner Booysen who dotted down. The Sharks scored the next converted try through Vermeulen, who showed immense strength to power past three Lions defenders to score. This was followed by a red card for Lions hooker Coetzee, who kicked Vermeulen in the face after scoring the try.
The Sharks scored a penalty try after repeated scrum infringements soon after the red card to make the score 31-19. The game's momentum started to swing in their favour, which was reflected in the 77 percent possession the home side had in the second half at this point.
Another massive Sharks shove in the scrum saw Mtembu pick up and offload to the galloping reserve scrum-half Schreuder who scored a converted bonus point try.
The comeback was completed after 67 minutes. Reserve forward Meyer scored a converted try after the Sharks drove forward after a line-out. Vermuelen scored his brace and extended the home side's lead to 9 points after April converted.
Daniel scored another converted try for the Sharks after the Lions couldn't hang onto an Ndungane kick-through. The final score read 47-31 to the Sharks.
For Golden Lions:
Tries: Van Rensburg, Nel, Volmink, Janse van Vuuren, Booysen
Cons: Van der Walt
Red Card: Coetzee
Tries: Mtembu, Schreuder, Meyer, Vermeulen 2, Penalty try, Daniel
Cons: April 5
Golden Lions: 15 Sylvian Mahuza, 14 Madosh Tambwe, 13 Jacques Nel, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Dillon Smit, 8 Ryan Kankowski (captain), 7 Fabian Booysen, 6 Cyle Brink, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Robert Kruger, 3 Johannes Jonker, 2 Robbie Coetzee, 1 Corne Fourie.
Replacements: 16 Michael Willemse, 17 Sithembiso Sithole, 18 Bobby de Wee, 19 Hacjivah Dayimani, 20 Marco Janse van Vuuren, 21 Siya Masuku, 22 Aphiwe Dyantyi
Sharks: 15 Garth April, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Sibusiso Nkosi, 10 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Lubabalo Mtembu, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Ruan Botha (captain), 4 Tyler Paul, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Thomas du Toit
Replacements: 16 Armand van der Merwe, 17 Inny-Christian Radebe, 18 Juan Schoeman, 19 John-Hubert Meyer, 20 Jean Droste, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Mzamo Majola
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge
Assistant referees: Jaco Pretorius, Eduan Nel
TMO: Willie Vos