Sharks fall prey to Lions revival

With a second-half comeback against the Sharks, the Lions secured back-to-back Currie Cup victories at Kings Park on Saturday night.

Joburgers fought back from a 22-14 half-time deficit to win 38-32 in Durban, thanks in large part to two penalty tries, to claim only their second win of the season after losing 10 consecutive matches in the competition. .

A bonus point try for the Sharks, as well as a point for losing within seven points, left the Durbanites chasing the playoffs in fifth on the log, but hot on the heels of fourth-placed Pumas before the last games of the round of the regular season.

The Sharks took a 10-0 lead after flyhalf Tito Bonilla opened the scoring from the tee, before lock Thembelani Bholi scored the first try of the game. Bonilla added the extras.

But, two tries from young Lions No.13 Henco van Wyk, Tiaan Swanepoel getting it right in converting both touchdowns, put the visitors in control of the proceedings.

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Sharks No 8 Mpilo Gumede survived a possible yellow card for a controversial tackle on scrum-half Sanele Nohamba, who was then sent to the cheeky chair for a dangerous armless jab around the ankles on the loose striker.

The hosts capitalized on their individual advantage as hooker Jason Alexander completed a brace on his debut before half-time. Bonilla added another conversion to his tally in the first half as the Sharks entered the break eight points clear on the scoreboard.

The Lions fell back to less than a point shortly after the restart, with referee Cwengile Jadezweni penalizing the Sharks for multiple scrimmage infractions.

Bholi was then shown a yellow card for collapsing the maul and the visitors used their supremacy at the scrum to earn another penalty try and regain the lead.

Lock Ruben Schoeman crashed for the Lions’ fifth down of the game, Swanepoel adding the extras, as the Joburgers took a 13-point lead.

But, right-winger Marnus Potgieter ignored several tackles to secure a crucial bonus-point try for the Sharks, and Bonilla converted, with just under 20 minutes to play.

Swanepoel nailed his second penalty from the second stanza before Bonilla hit the three vital points for the home side just before the final whistle to complete a 38-32 result.

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Charles P. Patton