The Sharks, led by a faultless kicking display from flyhalf Meyer Bosman, beat the defending champions, the MTN Golden Lions, 30-14 (halftime 6-7) in an Absa Currie Cup Premier Division match at Mr Price Kings Park in Durban on Saturday night.
Bosman slotted three penalties and three conversions as the Sharks turned around a one-point halftime deficit to record their second win of the competition in as many games. However, they missed out on a bonus point after only managing three tries but will nonetheless be happy with the win.
The Lions, after whipping the Free State Cheetahs in their opening game, promised much in the early exchanges but the Sharks were eventually too good for them on the night.
The game was riddled with errors in opening minutes mainly due to both sides’ over-eagerness to play an expansive game.
But once the Lions settled they dominated the remainder of the first quarter with the Sharks being asked to make a number of tackles.
The Sharks, however, were the first to register points when Lions flank Josh Strauss was penalised for a high tackle. Centre Meyer Bosman made no mistake with the kick.
The Lions then made their dominance count when they were awarded a penalty try as the Sharks succumbed to severe scrum pressure on their tryline once too often for referee Mark Lawrence’s liking. Flyhalf Butch James slotted the straight-forward conversion.
The Sharks suffered a scare when Lawrence ordered their flyhalf Riaan Viljoen off the field to be checked for concussion on the half hour. Viljoen had earlier taken a chin to the jaw from opposite number James but luckily for the home side, medical opinion deemed him fit to continue.
Bosman kicked a penalty minutes later to narrow the difference to one point and the Lions were set back on the stroke of halftime when lock Hendrik Roodt was sin-binned for a professional foul.
With Roodt doing time on the sidelines, the Sharks wrested the momentum from the Lions and they took the lead for the first time in the game when Bosman added another penalty.
They went even further ahead before Roodt’s return when they put the ball through a number of hands for left wing S’bura Sithole to show a good turn of pace and outstrip the Lions’ defence out wide to score in the corner. Bosman’s conversion attempt from the touchline was successful and took the Sharks into 16-7 advantage.
The Lions were even more on the back foot when the Sharks raided their 22m area again with a sharp attack and right wing Odwa Ndungane was there to round off the move with a try. Bosman added the two points once again.
The Lions bounced back though as their forwards drove with intent to see flank Cobus Grobbelaar over for his team’s second try which was converted by James.
But Sharks captain Jean Deysel showed just how strong he is with the ball in hand when he dragged a number of defenders over the tryline to score. Bosman continued his good form with the boot to complete the Sharks’ victory with another conversion.
SHARKS – Tries: S’bura Sithole, Odwa Ndungane, Jean Deysel. Conversions: Meyer Bosman (3); Penalties: Bosman (3).
GOLDEN LIONS – Tries: Penalty try, Cobus Grobbelaar. Conversions: Butch James (2).