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Lions 14 vs Sharks 7

Lions take first season victory over Sharks

Sharks struggled without their Bok players 

The Lions won their first game of the 2007 Currie Cup at Ellis Park on Saturday when they beat the Sharks 14-7. The halftime score was just 3-0 for the Lions, with most of the scoring action coming late in the second half.

Cobus Grobbelaar lead out the Lions in his 50th provincial game for the union, and also immediately got involved in the match when he fielded the Sharks kick-off inside his 22. Just seconds later he sadly had to leave the field because of a blood injury, giving Tyibilika some game time.

The Lions conceded 3 early penalties in the first 5 minutes, the last two very kickable for the Sharks, but the Sharks opted for the line-out on all three occasions, and the last one was skew resulting in a Lions scrum, giving some relief to the team.

11 minutes into the first half Grobbelaar returned from his blood bin, without much that has happened in the match. From the next scrum the ball went to van Schalkwyk at Flyhalf, a slightly misdirected pass, and Van Schalkwyk decided to kick but it was charged down, and then the backline move from the Sharks to the right looking threatening, but the cover defense of the Lions managing to take the player out on their 22 meter line.

The Lions also had a promising chance with Willem Alberts darting through the heavy traffic in the middle of the field, before offloading to Grobbelaar, who in turn tried to find Joubert to his left, who unfortunately knocked the ball with the try-line looming.

30 minutes into the first half the Sharks had a defending line-out 5 meters from their own line, and Kockott's clearing kick was charged by Joubert, who just couldn't regather the ball to score the try. This gave the Sharks a scrum on their own 5 meter line, where the Lions were putting them under pressure with solid scrumming.

35 minutes into the first half the Lions came close to scoring when they had a scrum deep inside the Sharks 22, they hit right and then switched left, where Grobbelaar managed to break Venter's tackle and offload to Benjamin, who just couldn't get the ball down behind the try-line, but giving the Lions a scrum five meters out. From this they tried to go for the push over try, but the Sharks defended well, although conceding a penalty, which Vermaak converted to put the Lions 3-0 in front.

Just three minutes later the Lions conceded a penalty for holding on, giving Kockott a chance to level from just outside the Lions 10 meter line, but he pushed it right. Almost straight away and from almost the same spot, the Sharks were awarded another penalty, and funny enough, Kockott pushed it right again, making the halftime score 3-0 for the Lions.

The second half started well for the Lions when they were awarded a penalty just outside the Sharks 22 next to the right hand touch line where the Sharks were penalised for holding on. Vermaak kicked the difficult penalty with the Lions now leading 6-0.

2 minutes later Vermaak missed a penalty from the middle of the field just inside the Sharks half, showing that his range is more from just inside the opponents 10 meter line. The Lions now enjoyed some territorial advantage, and Ludik almost scored in the right corner but was well tackled and just out on the corner. The Lions stole this line-out and hit left, where they had a huge overlap, but Benjamin just couldn't hold on to the difficult pass with an open try-line in front of him.

15 minutes into the second half Jaco van Schalkwyk got a slow ball from 2nd phase inside the Sharks 22, and rightly so attempted a drop, which added another 3 points to the Lions as it went through the middle.

17 minutes into the second half Grobbelaar replaced Van der Merwe for the Lions. For the next six minutes the Sharks camped on the Lions try-line, but the Lions defense held.

28 minutes into the second half the Sharks had a great scoring opportunity, running the ball from a scrum inside their 22, they managed to make it to deep inside the Lions 22, where this time Keegan Daniels couldn't hold onto the pass with an open try-line in front of him.

MacKenzie and Strydom replaced Mujati and Mdaka at this stage with 10 minutes to go in the game.

The Lions then scored the 1st try of the match in the 73rd minute, this from a scrum on about the halfway line where Ernst Joubert broke away with the ball to the right, and then passed inside to his left to Grobbelaar, who managed to run the 22 meters in to score next to the poles. Vermaak missed the easy conversion.

The Sharks immediately hit back with a try of their own, an excellent backline move to the left where Bobo managed to score in the left corner. Kockott kicked the conversion, the Lions in a 14-7 lead.

Molefe replaced Benjamin with just a minute left on the clock. The Sharks were now attacking with everything, but the defense held and that was it, the first victory for the Lions in the 2007 Currie Cup.       

The scorers:

For the Lions:
Vermaak (2)  
Drops: Van Schalkwyk(1)        

For the Sharks:
Cons: Kockott    

Yellow card: none
Red card: none 

Lions: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Tobela Mdaka, 13 Jannie Boshoff, 12 Doppies la Grange, 11 Ryno Benjamin, 10 Jaco van Schalkwyk, 9 Jano Vermaak, 8 Willem Alberts, 7 Ernst Joubert(c), 6 Cobus Grobbelaar, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Anton van Zyl, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Willie Wepener, 1 Heinke van der Merwe.
Replacements: 16 Kenny Mackenzie, 17 Gavin Williamson, 18 Cobus Grobler, 19 Solly Tyibilika, 20 Freddie van Zyl, 21 Louis Strydom, 22 Thabang Molefe.

Sharks: 15. Odwa Ndungane, 14. Howard Noble , 13. Adrian Jacobs, 12. Grant Rees, 11. Henno Mentz, 10. Bradley Barrit, 9. Rory Kockott, 8. Ryan Kankowski, 7. AJ Venter(c), 6. Jacques Botes, 5. Alistair Hargreaves, 4. Steven Sykes, 3. Patric Cilliers, 2. Skipper Badenhorst, 1. Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16. Jody Jenneker, 17. Robbie Harris, 18. Warren Britz, 19. Keegan Daniel, 20. Scott Mathie, 21. Monty Dumond, 22. Gcobani Bobo.  

Referee: Mark Lawrence (SARU) 
Touch judges: Jaco Peyper (Free State) and Peet Badenhorst (Lions)
TV Match Official:
Johann Meuwesen (EP)

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