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By Athenkosi Tsotsi

Sports Reporter


Lions steal win at the death against the Sharks

Lions captain Marius Louw scored a try late in the game to secure his side' first win over the Sharks since 2017.


It was jubilation for the Lions as they secured a dramatic win in the United Rugby Championship by overcoming the Sharks 20-18 on Saturday night at Durban’s Kings Park.

The Johannesburg side stole the victory at the death thanks to a seven-point score through a Marius Louw try and conversion by Sanele Nohamba.

The Sharks could have sealed the win after the 80-minute mark but substitute Boeta Chamberlain missed a penalty from a kickable position. The missed kick reduced some young fans to tears.

The win for the Lions was their first in Durban since 2017 and their fifth victory in a row in all competitions. Ivan van Rooyen’s side climbed up to 11th place on the table in the URC with 23 points.

For the Sharks, they fail to shake off their losing culture in the URC — they have now lost eight matches and remain at the bottom of the table.

Sharks dominance

John Plumtree would have been left fuming by his side’s inability to get the win because they had control of the game in the first half, leading 18-3 at halftime but they faded away in the second 40 minutes.

The game started with the Sharks camping in the Lions’ half, with them putting their visitors under plenty of pressure and thanks to their attacking play, Makazole Mapimpi scored a converted try after 20 minutes.

They were playing in the right areas of the field and had confidence in their play.

The halfback pairing Curwin Bosch and Grant Williams were pulling the strings and influencing the game – this was evident when Bosch kicked a drop goal, and Williams finished off a five-point score.

The Sharks went into the break leading 18-3 and were on top in every department.

Fightback from the Lions

Although they were on the back foot, the Lions came out fighting in the second stanza. They soon won a scrum penalty and when Sanele Nohamba kicked for the poles, it fell short.

That did not discourage the Lions; they kept on probing, running at the Sharks at a ferocious pace, pinning them in their half. They were awarded a penalty try after Gerbrandt Grobler was adjudged to have infringed during a driving maul.

With the Sharks down to 14 players after Grobler was sent to the sin bin, the Lions grew in stature and upped the ante, dominating the setpiece.

Nohamba kicked three points and took the score to 18-13 at the hour mark. The game turned into an arm wrestle, with both teams playing with physicality and trying to take control of the game.

The away side never went away in the contest and took the lead with two minutes to go when captain Marius Louw scored a try and Nohamba kicked the extras for the win.

Scorers

Sharks: Tries – Makazole Mapimpi, Grant Williams; Conversion– Curwin Bosch; Penalties – Bosch; Drop goal: Bosch

Lions: Tries – Penalty try, Marius Louw; Conversion – Sanele Nohamba; Penalty – Sanele Nohamba (2)

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