Reds punish woeful Sharks in Durban, Lions hold on for vital win in Hamilton

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The Sharks disappointed for the second week running as they lost 21-14 to the Reds in Friday’s Super Rugby clash at Kings Park.

The Reds moved provisionally second in the Australian Conference after they beat a disappointing Sharks side 21-14 at Kings Park on Friday.

Bryce Hegarty, Chris Feauai-Sautia and Tate McDermott’s tries saw them to victory, as the Sharks missed a chance to go top in South Africa. Their tries came via Kerron van Vuuren and Dan du Preez as the hosts struggled for any real fluidity and made numerous errors both in attack and defence.

The Reds went into the interval leading 14-7 thanks to Hegarty and Feauai-Sautia’s tries, with Van Vuuren hitting back for the home team.

Brad Thorn’s side didn’t take long to hit the ground running as on three minutes a line break from hooker Alex Mafi led to quick recycled ball and Hegarty then spotted a hole and backed himself from 20 metres out for the opener. He slotted the simple conversion for a 7-0 lead.

The Sharks had chances to chip away at that buffer but instead opted for the corner, which did not result in points as the contest wore on.

It backfired too as the Reds soon doubled their lead on 20 minutes, Samu Kerevi’s bust then seeing him offload to Feauai-Sautia for a try.

Fortunately for the Sharks they did respond before half-time as a line-out drive saw Van Vuuren get over and while they had further chances which weren’t taken late on in the half, the hosts would still fancy their chances of turning things around in front of their Durban fans.

It had looked as though neither side would trouble the scoreboard in the opening 20 minutes of the second period in an error-strewn spell, but the Reds then finally clicked with offloads aplenty down the right seeing Hegarty and Scott Higginbotham combine to put McDermott over.

That converted try moved the Reds into a 21-7 lead and with the Sharks making error after error in attack, it seemed an away win was likely.

So it proved as despite a late try from Sharks number eight Du Preez off the base of a scrum, the Reds would hold on for a rare win in Durban.

Sharks – Tries: Kerron van Vuuren. Conversions: Robert du Preez.

Reds – Tries: Bryce Hegarty, Chris Feauai-Sautia, Tate McDermott. Conversions: Bryce Hegarty (2), Hamish Stewart.

The Lions secured a hard fought 23-17 win over the Chiefs in Hamilton on Friday to get their 2019 Super Rugby campaign back on track.

As the scoreline suggests, this was a closely contested match although the Lions were the dominant side during the opening half and raced into a 20-0 lead at half-time before the Chiefs fought back in the second stanza.

In the end, the Chiefs outscored the victors by three tries although brilliant goalkicking from Elton Jantjies proved the difference between the sides in the end as he contributed 13 points via two penalties, two conversions and a drop goal. Their other points came courtesy of tries from Carlu Sadie and Aphiwe Dyantyi.

For the Chiefs, Sean Wainui,Nepo Laulala and Tumua Manu scored tries and Marty McKenzie added a conversion.

The visitors’ forwards also deserve praise as they delivered a dominant display especially in the tight exchanges which laid the platform to a deserved triumph.

The Lions were dealt a blow ahead of the match with the news that they would be without the services of their head coach, Swys de Bruin, who flew back to South Africa hours before kick off for personal reasons.

But De Bruin’s absence did not seem to affect the men from Johannesburg during the early stages of the game and they opened the scoring in the 10th minute via a penalty from Jantjies.

The next 20 minutes was characterised by plenty of end-to-end action but no points were scored during this period. The Lions eventually extended their lead on the half-hour mark courtesy of another penalty from Jantjies.

Five minutes later, the visitors took the ball through several phases after a lineout deep inside Chiefs territory, before Sadie crossed for the opening try from close quarters.

And just before half-time Warren Whiteley stabbed a grubber kick through which Dyantyi gathered before diving over for his a deserved try which Jantjies converted and the Lions had their tails up at the break.

The Chiefs needed a response but they had to wait until midway through the second half when Sean Wainui scored their opening try after a brilliant run from Brad Weber in the build-up.

That score seemed to reinvigorate the home side as shortly afterwards Wainui launched a superb attacks from inside his half which was rounded off by Laulala.

Marty McKenzie failed with both conversion attempts but he made up for those misses when he launched a teasing crossfield kick which was gathered by Alex Nankivell, who offloaded to Manu in the build-up to the Chiefs’ third try.

McKenzie added the extras which narrowed the gap to three points but Jantjies sealed his side’s win when he landed his drop goal in the game’s dying moments.

The scoreres:

For the Chiefs
Tries: Wainui, Laulala, Manu
Pens: M McKenzie

For the Lions
Tries: Sadie, Dyantyi
Cons: Jantjies 2
Pens: Jantjies 2

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