Kwagga Smith’s quick tap and go proved the decisive score in the Lions 26-19 Super Rugby win against the Sharks in Johannesburg. The Lions led 14-7 at halftime.
It was the Lions seventh successive win against the Sharks but the visitors will rue poor set piece execution in the final five minutes when three times they had the chance to secure a potential draw from lineout mauls and three times they fluffed their lines.
The Lions outscored the Sharks four tries to three, with a potent scrum and strong set piece key to the Lions victory. The Sharks backs were explosive but their pack couldn’t provide any consistent platform.
The Lions destroyed the Sharks pack on the firsts scrum feed and it rarely got any better for the Sharks.
Robert du Preez was impressive in his first start at flyhalf for the Sharks but will rue a few missed goalkicks. His opposite Elton Jantjies enjoyed a comfortable first 65 minutes but then appeared to lose all fluency in his game and he missed successive kicks.
Jantjies had the chance to take the game away from the Sharks but those missed kicks allowed the visitors to hang in there. Ultimately they weren’t good enough up front to make good on the potential try-scoring opportunities in the final five minutes.
The Lions scored four tries through centre Lionel Mapoe (2), wing Aphiwe Dyantyi and flank Smith. Jantjies kicked three conversions.
(Robert) du Preez got the opening try for the Sharks and the try-scoring was completed by wingers Sbu Nkosi and Makazole Mapimpi.
Our preview had the Sharks to win by 6.
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Sylvian Mahuza, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Marvin Orie, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen
Substitutes: 16 Robbie Coetzee, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Hacjivah Dayimani, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Rohan Janse van Rensburg
15 Lwazi Mvovo, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Ruan Botha (captain), 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Juan Schoeman
Substitutes: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 John-Hubert Meyer, 18 Tendai Mtawarira, 19 Hyron Andrews, 20 Tyler Paul, 21 Grant Williams, 22 Curwin Bosch, 23 Kobus van Wyk