Lions keep URC hopes alive with victory over Sharks

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The Lions have kept their United Rugby Championship (URC) playoff hopes alive with a bonus point victory over the Sharks in Johannesburg. The home side ran in six tries to one to record a 40-10 win in a match that was interrupted by heavy rain and lightning.

The Sharks drew first blood, courtesy of the kicking boot of flyhalf, Siya Masuku, who slotted a penalty in the third minute. But the Lions hit back almost immediately. Number nine, Sanele Nohamba went over after orchestrating a perfect little break and Jordan Hendrikse kicked the conversion.

Moments later, they were at it again. This time, a joint team effort, and a great cross-kick by Nohamba, sent number six, JC Pretorius over. After 13 minutes, the hosts enjoyed a 14-3 lead. Lions fullback, Quan Horn scored his fourth URC try of the season in the 24th minute after a period of sustained pressure by the hosts.

The Sharks finally managed their first try of the match after a Nohamba kicked was charged down and right wing, Eduan Keyter went over. That’s how matters remained for the rest of the first half. Despite enjoying slightly more possession and territory, the Sharks trailed the Lions 19-10 after 40 minutes.

Heavy rains and lightning, however, led to a significant delay in the start of the second half.

The Lions started slowly but grew in confidence as the half progressed, and things went from bad to worse for the Sharks. Lions replacements, Conrad van Vuuren, Erich Cronje and Hanru Sirgel all went over late in the second half to put the home side firmly in control of the clash.

The hosts finally clinched an impressive 40-10 win.

With the bonus point victory, the Lions are in 10th place on the log on 29 points, level with Ulster.

The Sharks remain bottom of the log with only one win from 11 outings.