Lions win dramatic battle at Kingspark

Henry

A South African derby caused plenty of drama when the Lions beat the Sharks 20-18 in Durban.

The Sharks were by far the better team in the first half and they built up an 18-3 half-time lead. But, as the story of the hare and the tortoise teaches one: It is not how you start that is important, but rather how you finish things.

A penalty try and a successful penalty kick brought the visitors within striking distance and they probably thought that there was still enough time to end the game with the kicking foot when Sanele Nohamba stepped in behind the kicker in the 75th minute.

Although his set-piece attempt was unsuccessful, this Lions team does not simply lose heart.

The very Nohamba – who played quite a few games for the Sharks before he made the move to Johannesburg – a short time later chased a penalty kick over the touchline and captain Marius Louw steamrolled over the Durbanites’ goal line together with the forwards. .

Nohamba took care of the extra points and suddenly the score was 20-18 in the Lions’ favour!

But that was not the end of this action-packed rugby script and a brilliant Eben Etzebeth – the Sharks’ Springbok lock was named the player of the match – caught the Lions off guard and forced a penalty.

As the seconds ticked down on the stadium clock, Boeta Chamberlain came close to sealing the game for the home side, but his set-piece header sailed wide of the post.

This is the Lions’ first victory in Durban since 2017, while the Sharks just can’t win a game in the latest version of the United Rugby Championship.

Poor coach John Plumtree probably doesn’t know what to say after a defeat by this time.

  • Scorers:

Lions: Tries: Penalty try and Marius Louw. Goal kick: Sanele Nohamba. Penalty kicks: Nohamba (2).

Sharks: Tries: Makazole Mapimpi and Grant Williams. Goal kick: Curwin Bosch. Penalty kick: Bosch. Bucket head: Bosch.

  • The Lions now occupy 11th place in the official HRC standings with 23 points after eight games. In contrast, the Sharks still enjoy wooden spoon status with just one win in nine attempts.