Sharks punish ill-disciplined Lions
Poor discipline by the Golden Lions cost them dearly as the Sharks recorded a 47-31 come-from-behind Currie Cup victory at Ellis Park on Saturday night.
The Lions looked set to record a comfortable win and with it restore their Currie Cup prospects before the game was turned on its head.
They had set the tone in the opening 46 minutes scoring five tries and building a healthy lead before hooker Robbie Coetzee was red carded.
Apart from having a player short in attack and defence it left their scrum seriously vulnerable and it presented the Sharks a foothold and a way back into the game after trailing 31-5 after 46 minutes.
Tries by Jacques Vermeulen, Louis Schreuder, John-Hubert Meyer and a penalty try advanced the visitors into an improbable lead by the 66th minute.
The Golden Lions who conceded more than 50 points at Loftus last week were in desperate need of a boost coming into this game.
They got it in the shape of the cavalry who had been engaged in more pressing combat when the Currie Cup got underway.
Having completed their Super Rugby commitments last week, the Lions made 11 changes to their side. The men who did duty on the bench in the Super Rugby final were pressed into action en mass from the start and their class showed.
The hosts looked more alert to opportunity and inside the opening half hour they had sped into a 24-0 lead. Their scrum packed a punch and they proved elusive in broken play as their backs and forwards combined seamlessly. Some dazzling interplay between backs and forwards marked that period in which they comprehensively outplayed the visitors.
The Sharks only got onto the scoreboard post the half-time siren when No8 Tera Mtembu ran in unchallenged.
Although the Lions firmed their grip shortly after the break when flank Fabian Booysen scored, the game turned decisively when home team hooker Coetzee was red carded with half an hour left to play. He had intended to kick the ball from the grasp of Vermeulen when the Shark was in the act of scoring a try but succeeded only in kicking the flanker in the face.
His act effectively kicked his teammates' prospects in the teeth.
Tries: Rohan Janse van Rensburg, Jacques Nel, Anthony Volmink, Marco Janse van Vuuren, Fabian Booysen
Conversions: Jaco van der Walt 3.
Tries: Jacques Vermeulen (2), Tera Mtembu, a penalty try, Louis Schreuder, John- Hubert Meyer, Keegan Daniel
Conversions: Garth April (5)