Strong second half gives Lions famous victory in Durban

Strong second half gives Lions famous victory in Durban

The Emirates Lions scored 17 unanswered second half points to record a famous 20-18 victory (halftime 3-18) over a baffled Hollywoodbets Sharks, who remain rooted to the bottom of the Vodacom United Rugby Championship log.

URC Sharks vs Lions 6 Jan 2023
Photo: SA Rugby

A crowd of 19 730 in holiday mood saw the home team seemingly heading to only their second win of the season (from nine starts) and although they deserved their half time lead, they were stunned by an Emirates Lions comeback for the ages.

Two second half tries from mauls, the second converted from the touchline by Sanele Nohamba to put his side in the lead (after trailing until the 77th minute) shocked the home team, who were left scratching their heads once more after a bright start.

Replacement flyhalf Boeta Chamberlain had a 79th minute penalty to snatch back the lead for the Durbanites – from 30 metres out and on the angle on the right – but pulled it across the face of the posts.

The second half turned the game in its head after the Hollywoodbets Sharks established scoreboard advantage that their dominance increasingly promised in the opening 40. The teams had exchanged penalties in the first 12 minutes before the home side scored a superb first try.

Fullback Aphelele Fassi quickly took a lineout on halfway and after two phases had moved the ball tot eh right touchline it was swung back through half a dozen pairs of hands to the left wing where Makazole Mapimpi took a scoring pass from the already celebrating Fassi.

Flyhalf Curwin Bosch converted and added a drop goal before the electric Hollywoodbets Sharks scrumhalf Grant Williams added the second try, fizzing down a man-wide channel on the blindside of a five metre ruck to plant the ball lefthanded while two Emirates Lions defenders carried his airborne torso over the sideline, but too late to prevent the score.

The visitors had had little field position in the opening half but scored the first ten points of the second half to close the gap to five as the game tipped over into the final quarter.

The Emirates Lions were awarded a penalty try for a collapsed maul after 53 minutes – for which Hollywoodbets Sharks lock Gerbrandt Grobler received a yellow card – and Nohamba added a penalty goal for a collapsed scrum seven minutes later to put the game into the melting pot at 18-13.

A second maul – completed by centre Marius Louw touching down at the tail – levelled the scores and gave Nohamba the chance to land what turned out to be a famous winner.


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