Sharks and Lions Fall Short in Durban Circus

Otto SaaymanContributor IFebruary 23, 2009

A lot of mistakes cost both the Sharks and the Lions a bonus point in this week's game at the ABSA stadium. The Sharks attacking play was just not good enough and the Lions kept them down to only three tries. The Lions looked terrible and suffered at their own hand. Knock-ons, forward passes and other instances of bad execution stopped them in their tracks time and again.

Earl Rose opened the scoring with a drop-goal after a full 14 minutes. This was to be the standard for the rest of the game - sloppy play interrupted by someone getting it right and scoring points.

Deon Carstens put the hosts in front with a try after some good pressure from the Sharks. They enjoyed the biggest share of the possession and territory, but just could not capitalise on that. Ruan Pienaar did not bring his kicking boots to the ABSA stadium.

Despite the Lions missing a lot of tackles and suffering in the set-pieces they managed to end the half only 8 points to 3 behind the Sharks.

In the second half the greasy ball and humid temperature dominated the game. The Lions managed to stick their noses in front for a few minutes thanks to an excellent try by Ashwin Willemse and the conversion by Earl Rose.

The Sharks hit back with two tries by Ryan Kankowski, a classic eighth-man-out-sprinting-the-back-line-defence which was adored by the Durban crowd, and JP Pietersen rounding off a sustained period of pressure in the visitor's 22.

The final score was 25-10 to the Sharks. The Lions need to live up to their name - not the habit of lying around doing nothing, but that uncanny speed and strength the King of the Jungle unleashes on its prey in the wild.

The Sharks also have some work to do in order to justify their title as effortless killers in the deep oceans. Seeking and destroying opposition teams in the same merciless fashion as their namesake in the waters off Southern Africa.

In the end it was a real circus-like comedy of errors and a big headache for anyone who thought that the Sharks will be able to reach the Super 14 final in 2009.