Rock-bottom Lions upset Sharks
The Lions upset the odds by stunning the Sharks 38-28 in an all-South African Super Rugby clash on Saturday.
The Lions began the match rooted to the bottom of the table with one win in 12 matches while the Sharks were in sixth position and in the hunt for a playoff place.
The hosts found some form as they ran in four tries and flyhalf Elton Jantjies contributed 18 points courtesy of three conversions and four penalties.
The Lions raced into a 27-6 lead after 31 minutes and also wrapped up a bonus point for scoring four tries in the first half.
The Durban-based Sharks, who had won their previous four games, opened the scoring thanks to an early penalty from fullback Patrick Lambie but the rest of the half belonged almost exclusively to the home side.
The Lions grabbed their first try five minutes into the contest when flanker Grant Hattingh ran through to collect a delightful chip kick from Jantjies.
Flanker Derick Minnie then barged his way over for a converted try before a Jantjies penalty made the score 17-3 after 19 minutes.
Lambie kicked his second penalty but the Lions were in a bullish mood and outside centre Lionel Mapoe dived over after a scintillating 40-metre run which saw him jink his way past several despairing Sharks defenders.
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Jantjies added the conversion before kicking his second penalty to make the score 27-6.
The Sharks finally breached the Lions's defence when left wing Lwazi Mvovo rounded off a backline move.
The home team hit back though, wing Deon van Rensburg crashing over for the bonus-point try in the dying seconds of the half as the Lions went into the break with a 32-11 lead.
The Sharks began the second half by narrowing the gap to seven points with two tries in the first five minutes thanks to outside centre JP Pietersen and right wing Odwa Ndungane.
Jantjies and Lambie then traded penalties before the former completed the scoring with a 56th-minute penalty.
MTN Lions – Tries: Grant Hattingh, Derick Minnie, Lionel Mapoe, Deon van Rensburg. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (3). Penalties: Jantjies (4).
Sharks – Tries: Lwazi Mvovo, JP Pietersen, Odwa Ndungane . Conversions: Patrick Lambie (2). Penalties: Lambie (3).