Super Rugby: Sharks see off Lions to stay top
The Sharks remained top of the South African conference with an impressive 37-23 victory over the Lions at Kings Park.
Last Updated: 08/03/14 7:44pm
Tries from Paul Jordaan, Cobus Reinach and Odwa Ndungane helped the Sharks establish a 30-9 advantage 10 minutes into the second half, the boot of fly-half Frans Steyn accounting for the rest of their points.
However, the Lions were not done and scores from Francois de Klerk and Deon van Rensburg - adding to three earlier penalties from Marnitz Boshoff - then looked to have set up a nervy finish before Marcell Coetzee touched down a bonus-point try to give the Sharks further breathing space.
After a cagey opening few minutes, the Lions lost possession in contact and the Sharks kicked ahead for centre Jordaan to touch down on seven minutes. Steyn added the extras.
Two penalties from Lions full-back Boshoff swiftly got the visitors back within a point, only for Steyn to kick two of his own as the hosts forged 13-6 ahead on 23 minutes.
Steyn and Boshoff exchanged further penalties after the half-hour and then, three minutes before the interval, Reinach evaded the attention of three would-be tacklers en route to a superb individual try.
There was time for Steyn to despatch the conversion before the half-time siren, with the Sharks 23-9 up.
The Sharks further extended their lead nine minutes after the interval. Willem Alberts read an attempted chip upfield from Lions fly-half Elton Jantjies and flicked the ball to Marcell Coetzee, who supplied the pass for Ndungane to run in for the home team's third try.
Steyn again made no mistake in slotting the conversion for a 30-9 cushion.
The Lions made the scoreline more respectable in the 63rd minute when De Klerk was awarded a try by the television match official after the visitors won a lineout and drove the maul over the line, Boshoff adding the extras.
Van Rensburg chased down a Boshoff chip ahead to reduce the deficit to seven points 12 minutes from time, with the reliable boot of Boshoff then again doing his bit to make it 30-23.
However, the visitors were to make no further inroads, and there was still time for the Sharks to stretch their lead through flanker Coetzee's 79th-minute score and a Steyn conversion.