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Sharks in brilliant come-from-behind win over Conference leaders

NO ENTRY: Ruan Botha of the Cell C Sharks and teammate Thomas Du Toit tackles Harold Vorster of the Emirates Lions during Saturdays match at Kings Park, Durban. Picture: BackpagePix

The Cell C Sharks produced a tenacious second-half fightback to defeat the Lions 31-24 on Saturday, and in doing so they kept alive their outside chances of reaching the Super Rugby knockout stages.

They also ended a seven-game losing streak to their Johannesburg rivals, who led 21-11 at the break.

The competition resumed this weekend after a four-week break for the June internationals.

The Sunwolves, meanwhile, downed the Bulls 42-37 in their encounter in Singapore, despite two early tries from Springbok centre Jesse Kriel.

It wasn’t a good weekend for the South African team, because in the late evening match played in Buenos Aires, the Jaguares defeated the Stormers 25-14 to record their seventh straight win as they move within touching distance of South African conference leaders, the Lions.

Tries from Bautista Delguy, Guido Petti and Matias Orlando secured the game for the Jaguares, while the Cape team scored through Springboks Sikhumbuzo Notshe and Dillyn Leyds. The Argentine side is now just three points behind the Highvelders and they also have a game in hand.

Meanwhile,in the Sharks game against the Lions, the visitors enjoyed most of the possession and territory and deserved their 10-point lead at half-time.

However, the home side clinched the contest with a successful comeback in the second half. Tries from Daniel du Preez, André Esterhuizen and Lwazi Mvovo and also 16 points via the boot of flyhalf Robert du Preez, clinched it for the Durbanites.

The Highvelders scored through Ruan Combrinck, Cyle Brink and Kwagga Smith and turned down several penalty kicks.

In the first match of the day involving a South African side, the Sunwolves snatched victory right at the end of their clash with the Bulls in Singapore. A late try by replacement Raboni Warren-Vosayaco condemned the Pretoria side to their second away loss in two years to the Japanese side, who won Saturday’s match 42-37.

Following the weekend’s action, the Lions are still leading the SA standings. They have 41 points from 15 games and are followed by the Jaguares on 38 points from 14 games, with the Sharks third on 32 points.

In the Australian conference, the Waratahs are leading the pack on 39 points after Friday’s 31-26 win over the Rebels, who are second on 35.

Although the Crusaders were not in action this weekend, they are still comfortable in the lead on the New Zealand table with 54 points, followed by the Hurricanes (45) and the Chiefs (41).

ANA

SA Conference Results:

Jaguares 25-14 Stormers 14

Sharks 31-24 Emirates Lions

Sunwolves 42-37 Vodacom Bulls

Other Round 17 results:

Friday

Blues 39-16 Reds

Rebels 26-31 Waratahs

Saturday

Highlanders 22-45 Chiefs

Brumbies 24-12 Hurricanes