Two tries from Lwazi Mvovo helped the Sharks to a 48-19 Currie Cup win over the Lions in a very open game of rugby in Durban on Saturday.
Both sides were willing to have go and kept the crowd entertained with a high-paced game but the Sharks execution was a step above their visitors as they outscored the men from Jo'burg five tries to one, including two from intercepts.
Playing with plenty of confidence and attacking enterprise, the Sharks forced the Lions to make countless tackles. After leading 18-16 at the break, the home side cashed in as the tiring Lions lost shape and made too many errors in the second period.
The Sharks had lost two loose forwards by the fourth minute after Ryan Kankowski withdrew from the side before kick-off and Jean Deysel limped off with a knee injury.
As a result, Jacques Botes went from planning to watch from the stands, to winning his 100th Currie Cup cap, to scoring his 29th try in the space of a few hours!
The scores were level after ten minutes as the sides' respective 19-year-old fly-halves Patrick Lambie and Elton Jantjies each split the uprights from the kicking tee.
Lambie showed why he is considered by many to be the next big thing in South African rugby when he scored the opening try, ghosting through a gap after Charl McLeod took a quick free kick near the Lions tryline.
The Lions struck straight back as Deon van Rensburg used his space to sprint clear and score after picking up a poor grubber kick from Sharks centre Stefan Terblanche.
Jantjies' conversion gave the Lions the lead before the fly-halves exchanged penalties to keep the status quo.
The Sharks move back in front however after Keegan Daniel burst clear and Botes used his power to stretch out an arm and score.
Lambie added the extras but Jantjies kicked a penalty just before the hooter to keep the Lions in contention at 18-16 at half-time.
The young number tens continued to impress in front of the sticks, landing another penalty each to maintain the two-point gap.
Jantjies would make a crucial mistake however, throwing a long pass for Mvovo to intercept. No one was going to catch the Sharks wing, who finished under the posts.
Another intercept try, this time thrown by Jano Vermaak and snatched by Craig Burden, handed the Sharks a bonus point as the hooker dived under the sticks untouched.
With the bonus point already in the bag, skipper Terblanche was happy to ask Lambie to extend the lead with two more penalties .
Mvovo scored his second try with a blistering run down the touchline to end any hopes the Lions might of had of fighting back.
For the Sharks:
Tries: Lambie, Botes, Mvovo 2, Burden
Cons: Lambie 4
Pens: Lambie 5
For the Lions:
Tries: Van Rensburg
Pens: Jantjies 4
The Sharks:15 Louis Ludik, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Stefan Terblanche (c), 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Willem Alberts, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements:16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Eugene van Staden, 18 Ross Skeate, 19 Jacques Botes, 20 Rory Kockott, 21 Riaan Swanepoel, Monty Dumond.
The Lions: 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Deon van Rensburg, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Doppies la Grange, 11 Michael Killian, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Trevor Hall, 6 Derek Minnie, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 George Earle, 3 Kevin Buys, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg.
Replacements: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Ross Geldenhuys, 18 David Bulbring, 19 Jaco Kriel/Renaldo Bothma, 20 Chris Jonck, 21 Carlos Spencer, 22 Marius Delport.
Venue: The ABSA Stadium, Durban
Referee: Jason Jaftha