This result means the Cell C Sharks have moved into second position in the South African Conference with 33 points, three points behind the Jaguares and one point in front of the Vodacom Bulls. It was also the Emirates Lions’ fourth straight defeat in a local derby this season.
The home team struck hard early on when Curwin Bosch pounced on a short pass by Elton Jantjies 15m inside the Cell C Sharks’ half, to race away and score under the uprights.
Not long after that, Dan du Preez was driven over from a lineout maul and at 14-0, the Cell C Sharks looked to be in complete control.
But once the Emirates Lions settled and got more possession, they clawed their way back. Lionel Mapoe went over late in the first half, which saw the teams go into the sheds with the home side leading by 14-7.
The Emirates Lions started the second half the way they ended the first, and 10 minutes after the break, Cyle Brink’s converted try levelled the scores at 14-14, setting up an exciting final half-hour.
Bosch extended the Cell C Sharks’ lead soon after with his first penalty goal, but the hammer blow to the Emirates Lions’ aspirations came on the hour mark, while they were hot on the attack.
Springbok winger Makazole Mapimpi intercepted a looping pass from Jantjies close to his own try-line and raced away to score under the uprights, 95m upfield, which was effectively a 14-point swing. With 20 minutes to go, the KwaZulu-Natalians led by 24-14.
The Emirates Lions didn’t give up though. Jantjies missed an opportunity to close the gap to seven points in the 66th minute and six minutes later Reinard Nothnagel snuck over next to the posts, but the try wasn’t given as he played from an illegal position.
The visitors were playing under advantage though and Jantjies added the penalty goal to make it a seven point ball game. However, it was a short-lived surge as Bosch added his second penalty goal to restore the Cell C Sharks’ 10 point lead with just over three minutes to go, and that is how it ended.
Cell C Sharks 27 (14) – Tries: Curwin Bosch, Dan du Preez, Makazole Mapimpi. Conversions: Bosch (3). Penalty goals: Bosch (2).
Emirates Lions 17 (7) – Tries: Lionel Mapoe, Cyle Brink. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (2). Penalty goal: Jantjies.