Sharks draw with Lions in Super Rugby - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sharks draw with Lions in Super Rugby

Gerald Imray 12/06/2011 02:14:09 PM Comments (0)

The Sharks fought back from a 21-point deficit to steal a 30-30 draw with the lowly Lions in a South African derby in their Super Rugby clash on Saturday.

Flyhalf Patrick Lambie inspired the Sharks with 20 points, including the try that began the fightback, and wingers JP Pietersen and Lwazi Mvovo also crossed as the visitors scored the last 21 points at Ellis Park.

The draw was still a blow to the Sharks' playoff hopes, however.

The Durban-based side will travel to defending champions the Bulls in the last round with their hopes of making the six-team finals in the balance.

"I'm glad the boys put the fight in," said Sharks captain John Smit.

"They showed huge character to come back but we gave away some poor tries in the first half and we have left ourselves with a hell of a job at the end of the competition."

Flanker Cobus Grobbelaar scored two tries and No.10 Butch James kicked 15 points against his former team to send the Lions into a commanding 30-9 lead after 47 minutes before the Sharks' late surge. Scrumhalf Jano Vermaak also went over for the Lions.

James turned villain with a 60th-minute yellow card for a dangerous, neck-high tackle, allowing Pietersen to score from an overlap on the left wing against the 14-man Lions.

Mvovo then grabbed the crucial try with four minutes to go after a clever kick through by the outstanding Lambie. Lambie's conversion secured the draw.

"We're disappointed because we were close to winning at the end of the game," said Sharks replacement and former France international Frederic Michalak.

"We started to play too late in the game."

The Lions - who were playing their final game of the 2011 competition - have not won a match at home in two full Super Rugby seasons.

The Lions made their surprise first-half dominance count through tries by Grobbelaar and Vermaak after James kicked them 6-3 ahead.

With the Lions' forwards overpowering the Sharks' Springbok-filled pack, Grobbelaar went over for his second in the 47th after another rolling maul from a lineout. James converted for a perfect six from six attempts at goal and a 30-9 lead.

But boosted by a string of second-half substitutions - including Michalak - the desperate Sharks hit back with Lambie's 54th-minute score.

James was then sin-binned for his head-high hit on Sharks flanker Keegan Daniel, reducing the Lions to 14 men for a crucial period midway through the second half.

The Sharks used the man advantage to send Pietersen in and Lambie's conversion from out wide put the playoff-chasing Sharks within seven points, setting up a dramatic final 10 minutes.

Lambie then stabbed through his kick with four minutes remaining - and the Sharks dominant - and the lightning-quick Mvovo pounced for a thrilling draw.

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