The Sharks hit back against the Griffons to complete a resounding win in Welkom on Friday afternoon and go top of the Currie Cup log.
Trailing 9-7 at half time, flyhalf Lionel Cronje kicked four conversions and crossed the whitewash in the second half for the Durbanites in a bonus-point 35-9 result at North West Stadium.
Griffons scrumhalf Jaywin Juries kicked three penalties for a slim lead before the break, but the hosts were no match for the visitors after the restart, as tries from winger Yaw Penxe, prop Ntuthuko Mchunu, loose forward Celimpilo Gumede and fullback Nevaldo Fleurs helped clinch victory for the Sharks.
Victory for Joey Mongalo’s men, who are now on a six-match winning run, saw them overtake the Free State Cheetahs at the summit before the completion of round 12 in the competition this weekend.
In the other match Friday, Sanele Nohamba kicked 14 points as the Lions kept alive their hopes of reaching the top four and the playoffs with a surprise 34-12 win against Western Province at the Athlone Stadium, according to sarugbymag.co.za.
The Lions struck first and they struck early. Within a minute of the kickoff, former WP finisher Edwill van der Merwe had crossed the line, Sanele adding the extras.
It took Western Province 20 minutes to respond, through a try from winger Mnombo Zwelendaba, but it would be Van der Merwe and Nohamba who combined again to extend the Lions’ lead before half time, with another try from the winger and a conversion and penalty from his scrumhalf.
The Lions looked set for a comfortable half-time lead before a penalty try on the 40th minute took Province within three points going into the break.
Nohamba’s steady boot continued to help the travelling team in the second half, as he converted Ruan Venter’s try and knocked over another penalty late in the match to take the Lions comfortably clear. Venter scored again in the dying minutes, Nohamba converted and the Lions walked away 34-12 victors.
While Western Province suffered defeat to a full strength Lions side on Friday night, they will welcome back reinforcements for their final two Currie Cup fixtures, following the United Rugby Championship final which was set to take place between the Stormers and Munster on Saturday.
This story first appeared in sarugbymag.co.za. It is republished here with permission.