Sharks XV end Golden Lions XV's run
June 30, 2018
An outstanding performance by flyhalf Garth April enabled the Cell C Sharks XV to stun the Xerox Golden Lions 55-12 in their SuperSport Rugby Challenge quarter-final at Jonsson Kings Park in Durban on Saturday afternoon.

April played the role of general to perfection, scoring two tries, converting all his team’s six tries while he was on the field and adding two penalties for an overall tally of 28 points. He left the field with a dead leg halfway through the second half to well-earned applause from the Kings Park crowd.

The Sharks set up their victory with some glorious running rugby in the first half to run in four sparkling tries as the Lions were, at times, run off their feet by the fleet-footed and elusive Sharks’ backs.

It was the Lions who started well, however, with centre Wandisile Simelane completing a backline move in only the fourth minute after the Sharks had coughed up possession following a knock-on.

It didn’t take the home team long to respond, however, as April timed a short pass beautifully to put Tristan Blewett into space before the blond centre released fullback Courtney Winnaar who burst over. Winnaar quickly made it a double with a searing run down the left touchline, and Jeremy Ward took advantage of an intercept to add a third in the 15th minute to put the Sharks 21-5 up in a breathless first quarter.

The Sharks then went further ahead with an April penalty before Winnaar caught his own up and under before sending in scrumhalf Grant Williams for a spectacular try. The Sharks remained dominant against the outgunned visitors and, but for two knock-ons at crucial moments, could have added to their half-time haul.

The Sharks ensured there was no comeback for the visitors in the second half with April jinking his way through a bemused defence for two similar tries.

The Lions replied with their second try at the start of the final quarter as flanker James Venter strolled over the whitewash following a scrum on the Sharks’ five-metre line.

The game became ragged as both teams tired in the closing stages but there was still time for Sharks’ captain Tera Mtembu to complete a surprisingly one-sided win for the Sharks right on the hooter as he powered his way over after a scrum on the Lions’ line, seeing his team past the half-century mark.


Cell C Sharks XV - Tries: Courtney Winnaar 2, Garth April 2, Grant Williams, Jeremy Ward, Tera Mtembu. Conversions: April (6), Francois de Villiers, Penalties: April (2).
Xerox Golden Lions XV - Tries: Wandisile Simelane, James Venter. Conversion: Shaun Reynolds

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