Emirates Lions too strong for Hollywoodbets Sharks

Emirates Lions too strong for Hollywoodbets Sharks

The Hollywoodbets Sharks' disappointing Vodacom United Rugby Championship campaign continued as they were beaten 40-10 by the Emirates Lions in Johannesburg.

 The Lions ran in tries from scrum-half Sanele Nohamba, flanker JC Pretorius, full-back Quan Horn, prop Conraad van Vuuren, Erich Cronje and Hanru Sirgel, with fly-half Jordan Hendrikse kicking five conversions to maintain play-off hopes.

 The second-half kicked off 30 minutes late due to a thunderstorm, and Sharks' hopes of staying in the contest were extinguished through a strong finish by their opponents that secured a bonus point.

Wing Eduan Keyter touched down for the Sharks, while Siya Masuku kicked a penalty and conversion, but they have now lost 10 league games this season and remain bottom of the table.

Masuku kicked the Sharks ahead, but Nohamba inspired a rapid Lions response when he almost created a try from his team's first attack before touching down two minutes later following an opportunist 20-metre break that ended with him side-stepping wing Aphiwe Dyantyi.

Hendrikse converted, and Sharks quickly found themselves in trouble when Nohamba's cross-kick was caught on the run by number eight Francke Horn, and his inside pass sent Pretorius over for Lions' second touchdown, with Hendrikse again adding the extras.

Although the Lions lost centre Henco van Wyk to a knee injury, their dominance continued when Quan Horn finished impressively after more sharp work by Nohamba, making it three tries in 15 minutes.

Nohamba, though, then had a kick charged down and Masuku led a counter-attack that ended with Keyter crossing and the fly-half converting, cutting the deficit to nine points.

It could have been ever better for the Sharks when full-back Aphelele Fassi touched down, but the try was disallowed following an illegal ruck clear-out by Sharks prop Ntuthuko Mchunu and Lions had a 19-10 interval advantage.

Play resumed following the thunderstorm delay and a 10-minute warm-up for both teams, with Sharks having a prolonged spell of territorial dominance, but they could not make it count and then had captain Bongi Mbonambi yellow-carded.

The Lions looked to reassert themselves in pursuit of a bonus-point try, and it arrived 16 minutes from time following sustained pressure.

Van Vuuren was the beneficiary of sustained heavy-duty work by the Lions pack, and Hendrikse's conversion underpinned an emphatic advantage before Cronje and Sirgel wrapped things up.

Vodacom United Rugby Championship Player of the Match

Sanele Nohamba - the Lions scrum-half proved an elusive operator as far as the Sharks' defence was concerned. He announced his intentions during the opening minutes, making a superb break that almost led to a try, before he pounced from 25 metres out following a side-stepping run. He was at the heart of everything good about his team.

Play of the Match

The best tries are sometimes simple and brilliantly-executed, and the Lions' second touchdown was a superb example of that. Sanele Nohamba was the architect, with his pinpoint cross-kick being caught at pace by number eight Francke Horn, and then without breaking stride he delivered an inside pass to back-row colleague JC Pretorius, who fnished impressively.

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