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Lions 20 (8) vs Sharks 34 (3)

Lions hand game to Sharks

Sharks score bonus point to go top of the log 

The Lions were once again their worst enemy in a match where they went down 20-34 against the Sharks at Ellis Park on Saturday.

They were leading 8-3 at the break and looked in control of the match, but then in the space of just six minutes Earl Rose made two huge mistakes and basically handed the match to the Sharks. First he tried to chip the ball over the head of Jean Deysel, but instead it went straight into the hands of Deysel who said thanks and went to score a try, and then 6 minutes later he kicked a clearing kick from his 22 straight into the hands of JP Pietersen, who then chipped the ball over the Lions defense and scored another try.

Earl Rose started the match from the middle in front of what seemed to be the biggest crowd of the season. The Lions weathered the early continuous attack from the Sharks, and then drew first blood with a great try by Trompie Nontshinga. The try came from a Lions scrum on the Sharks 22, the Lions went left and managed to establish an overlap for Trompie, who still had two defenders to beat to the corner, but he did great and scored with the two defenders unable to stop the try in the corner. Earl Rose missed the difficult conversion from the touchline.

In the 25th minute the Sharks scored their first points of the game when Ruan Pienaar slotted a penalty from right in front of the poles to make the score 5-3 for the Lions.

The Lions launched a good attack by Ross Geldenhuys and Ernst Joubert just before halftime, deep in the Sharks 22, and at the ruck in front of their poles the Sharks conceded a penalty. Earl Rose had no problem to add the three points, and the Lions lead now 8-3, also the halftime score.

Justin Wheeler replaced Derick Minnie at the start of the second half.

Three minutes into the second half the Sharks scored their first try, they took the ball down the left of the backline and JP Pietersen managed to beat the defense on the outside and scored virtually under the posts. Pienaar converted to make it 10-8 for the Sharks.

On twenty minutes the Lions went back into the lead, they had a line-out close to the Sharks try-line, Ernst Joubert won the ball at the back and immediately passed to Heinke, who ran into a gap in the middle of the line-out and scored! Rose missed the conversion, but the lions leading again with 20 mins to go, 13-10 the score.

Just three minutes later the Sharks stole the lead again, Ryan Kankowski with a good run down the left touchline, and then passing to Carstens who just had to cross the line for the try. Pienaar converted to put the Sharks in a 17-13 lead. 

Just a minute later a huge mistake by Rose, he tried to chip the ball over Deysel, Deysel caught it and ran it in unnopposed under the poles. Pienaar converted again to make it 24-13 for the Sharks.

With 9 minutes to go some more bad thinking by Rose, he kicks a ball into the hands of a Shark who chips the ball over the Lions backs in to space, 2 Sharks chase and the turning Lions defense is too slow to catch them, JP Pietersen falls on the ball to score the try. Again Pienaar converts and the game now out of reach for the lions at 31-13.

Four minutes before the end Ernst Joubert powered over for a try converted by Louis Strydom to make it 31-20.

The last nail in the coffin of the Lions was conceding a penalty two miniutes before fulltime, Pienaar kicked it to make the final score 34-20.

The scorers:

For the Lions:
 Trompie Nontshinga, Heinke van der Merwe, Ernst Joubert     
Cons: Louis Strydom              
Earl Rose          

For the Sharks:
 JP Pietersen(2), Deon Carstens, Jean Deysel
Cons: Ruan Pienaar(4)
Pens: Ruan Pienaar(2)             

Yellow card: none
Red card: none 

Lions: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Michael Killian, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Doppies la Grange, 11 Trompie Nontshinga, 10 Earl Rose, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Derick Minnie, 6 Cobus Grobbelaar(c), 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Anton van Zyl, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Heinke van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Lawrence Sephaka, 18 Jannes Labuschagne, 19 Justin Wheeler, 20 Chris Jonck, 21 Louis Strydom, 22 Rayno Benjamin.

Sharks: 15 Stefan Terblanche, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Adrian Jacobs, 12 Francois Steyn, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Johann Muller(c), 4 Albert van den Berg, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.  
Replacements: 16 John Smit, 17 Deon Carstens, 18 Steven Sykes, 19 Keegan Daniel, 20 Rory Kockott, 21 Bradley Barritt, 22 Waylon Murray.

Referee: Mark Lawrence  
Touch judges: Lourens van der Merwe and Cobus Wessels
TV Match Official:
  Shaun Veldsman

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