Lock Oosthuizen was called out for a neck roll on Jaco Kriel late in the first half and sent to the bin by referee Jaco van Heerden. The Sharks had just gone 16-6 up after a 50 metre drop-goal by the massively talented Curwin Bosch.
With Oosthuizen off the field, the Lions, through Malcolm Marx, drove over the tryline from a lineout and with the conversion flying over closed the gap to three points at the break. Then, three minutes into the second half, the Lions scored a converted try through wing Courtnall Skosan to go 20-16 up.“The yellow card cost us 14 points,” said Du Preez bluntly afterwards. “That tells the story ... it contributed to the result. I thought the card was so marginal ... then we need to review all foul play, not just the one.
“There was also a disallowed try ... why just those two incidents that were looked at,” he questioned. The Sharks were denied what appeared to be a fair try when Andre Esterhuizen went over in the 26th minute, but for the TMO to rule that there had been foul play at a prior ruck.
Even Lions captain Warren Whiteley admitted that fronting up for 10 minutes with one less man in such a tight contest was extremely difficult. “You try and take as much advantage as you can when the opposition get a yellow card ... and for them it was in a crucial position (a lock) ... it affects the scrums and locks and props are the guys you look to to stop the mauls.”
Du Preez though said he was proud of his team’s performance. “I thought we showed lots of fighting spirit. But I was not happy with our discipline... we conceded a lot of penalties and I’ll have to look at the game again to see if some of the decisions were right or not.
“There’s still a lot of rugby to be played ... and we’ll certainly fancy our chances at home.”
The defeat – their second of the campaign – leaves them having to play catch-up over the coming weeks, with the Jaguares, who they face in Durban this week, also very much in the picture in Africa Conference 2.