The Sharks and Cheetahs continued to dominate the 2022 Currie Cup as they took their third win of the competition this weekend and settled in the first two positions.
The Sharks came out on top with an impressive 43-31 bonus points win against the Lions at Ellis Park, while the Cheetahs remained second after working hard for a 28-17 win against the Pumas at Mbombela.
They were the only two unbeaten teams in the competition and seemed to be the best after three rounds of play.
In the Lions and Sharks game, the hosts were let down by soft moments as they allowed the Sharks to take a 42-19 lead, before fighting back admirably through a late wave, though it was too little, too late.
The Lions started the game with a brilliant early long-distance attempt by wing Boldwin Hansen, who chased after a clearance, was rewarded with the bounce and drove off to give the Lions the lead.
However, the Sharks hit back with two tries at Marnus Potgieter and Cameron Wright, while Boeta Chamberlain was on target with his three kicks, including a penalty, to take the lead 17-7 at half time.
The second half then was a back-and-forth affair with both teams batting on opposite sides of each other, with the score still tied at 29-19 in a phase, but Sanele Nohamba’s shoe kept the scoreboard ticking for the visitors, leaving the home side with too much to do in the end.
After a massive defeat to the Pumas in their previous appearance, Lions coach Mziwakhe Nkosi was pleased with his team’s commitment, but admitted it was still not up to par.
“We played with a lot more oomph today. Overall, our plans worked, we took away their maul and we took away their air game, so that was good,” Nkosi said.
“But in the end we got the pressure on the scoreboard after two very soft tries. So it was a big improvement over the Pumas game, but it still wasn’t good enough.
“At the end we let ourselves do a bit too much, but I thought there wasn’t too much difference between the two teams, so hopefully we can tackle a few things and do well in the next game.”
In the other Currie Cup game of the weekend, Griquas took an impressive 22-20 home win over Western Province on Friday night.