The Lions recovered from a poor start to beat the Sharks 28-22 at Ellis Park.
The Lions produced an inspired last quarter after stuttering their way through the first 60 minutes. The Sharks looked set for the win but they squandered numerous chances early in the match which partly accounted for their defeat.
A two-try blitz in the five minutes before the break set them up, taking a 16-6 lead down the tunnel. The Sharks were simply the better side at the gainline in that period, which gave their loose forwards (Keegan Daniel was outstanding) and back division a platform to exploit.
The Lions struggled to stifle their recycle at the gainline and found their defensive assignment to be an arduous one as a result.
They did, however, found their defensive and attacking groove in the second half, building their challenge on a more potent tackle fight. The pressure they exerted forced a string of penalties, Elton Jantjies slotting three to cut the deficit.
Meyer Bosman bagged a double with his boot to take the Sharks out to a 22-15 lead with a quarter to play, but Jantjies wouldn’t be outdone and when Ruan Combrink broke down the touchline to score an excellent solo effort, the Lions looked favourites for the win.
There had been some debate over an apparent knock-on in the build up to Combrink’s try, but there was no such uncertainty about Jaco Kriel’s 45m effort two minutes later.
Jantjies missed the conversion, leaving the Sharks within six points of them. The Sharks piled massive pressure on in search of the victory, but the Lions were resolute, resisting their advances to secure the win that takes them to the top of the log.