CAPE TOWN – The Lions made the most of their chances to claim a 19-14 win in the Super Heroes match against the Sharks at the Cape Town Stadium on Sunday.
It was a match riddled with mistakes as both teams struggled to shake off the pre-season cobwebs.
The Sharks took the lead against the run of play after leftwing Makazole Mapimpi intercepted a wayward pass and showed the Spiderman-clad Lions a clean pair of heels (5-0). The Springbok flyhalf Curwin Bosch added the extra two with a conversion (7-0).
The Lions enjoyed possession and territory advantage, but made just too much mistakes to make their advantage count in the early stages.
Hooker Malcolm Marx eventually earned his Super Hero status when he forced his way over for a try (7-5). Elton Jantjies levelled the scores with the conversion (7-7) a few minutes before halftime.
The Sharks made a host of changes at halftime and played with more fluency afterwards.
However a piece of Jantjies brilliance led to a try by leftwing Courtnal Skosan. Jantjies kicked a well-placed through-ball swich Skosan snapped before running in to score. Jantjies missed the conversion (12-7).
Replacement-hooker Akker van der Merwe made an immediate impact when he came on for the Sharks, scoring a try after just 30 seconds (12-12). Bosch converted to put the KwaZulu-Natallers back in front (14-12).
The Lions were not prepared to allow the Black Panther-clad Sharks bragging rights and struck back through rightwing Sylvain Mahuza who intercepted and ran through to score. Jantjies converted to see his team regain the lead (19-14).
The Lions had to dig deep at the end to make sure that their spiderweb was strong enough to contain the Sharks. The team from KwaZulu-Natal pressed until the end, but could not escape the Lions trap.
It was a good workout for both teams, but lots of work still lies ahead before the season starts in twee weeks time.
Scorers: Lions 19 (7): Tries: Malcolm Marx, Courtnal Skosan, Sylvain Mahuza. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (2)
Sharks 14 (7): Tries: Makazole Mapimpi, Akker van der Merwe. Conversions: Curwin Bosch (2).
African News Agency (ANA)