Nohamba torments old team as Lions regain momentum

rugby02 March 2024 16:04| © SuperSport
By:Gavin Rich
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Sanele Nohamba © Gallo Images

The Emirates Lions survived what at one stage looked like a brave Hollywoodbets Sharks fightback to score an emphatic 40-10 win at Emirates Airlines Park that puts them firmly back into the race for a place in the playoffs.

In a game that had to be delayed halfway through for 30 minutes because of the electric storm that also forced a delay in the later match at Loftus between the Vodacom Bulls and DHL Stormers, the Lions scored six tries as they picked up the try-scoring bonus point that gives an extra edge to their challenge for a top eight finish on the log.

With an overseas tour to come, it was good timing for the Lions to hit their best form again after their poor performance in the reverse at home against the Bulls two weeks ago.

The Lions led 19-10 at halftime and the Sharks looked like they were fighting well to get back into it for most of the third quarter but just couldn’t make full use of their scoring chances.

Let it be said that there was also a poor decision in the 42nd minute when an easily kickable penalty that would have put them within a score of their opponents was eschewed in favour of a kick to the corner that brought nothing in terms of points from the resultant attacking lineout.

Indeed it was a scoreless second half for the Sharks, who eventually had to surrender their challenge when Lions fullback Quan Horn ran through a mellow of defenders to score his team’s fourth try.

That wasn’t long after the Sharks had been restored to 15 men after Bongi Mbonambi, their captain, had spent 10 minutes in the bin and the Durbanites had resisted the Lions attacks quite heroically.

There were some standouts for the Sharks, even in defeat, none more so than former Lions star Vincent Tshituka, who was prominent as a ball carrier and also worked hard on defence, but it was a former Sharks player, Sanele Nohamba, who walked away with the man of the match award for what he did to effectively set up the game for his team in the first half.

Siya Masuku, who made a noticeable difference for the Sharks when it came to attacking play with his more flat-lining playing style at flyhalf, kicked a penalty after three minutes but then it was all the Lions for the next 18 minutes, and it could easily have been described as the Sanele Nohamba show.


The former Sharks scrumhalf, back in the No 9 jersey after doing so well as a retreaded flyhalf in recent months, got the first Lions attack of the game going when he produced a spectacular break down the right flank.

The Sharks defence was eventually back to scramble but from an ensuing attack from the good resultant field position it was Nohamba again, this time using his ability to see space and his pace off the mark from a recycle, who weaved in and out, easily outfoxing former Lions Springbok Aphiwe Dyantyi, to go over from 15 metres out for his team’s first try.

Nohamba featured in the next try too, with the Lions passing well as they attacked off a set piece and a cross kick from who else but Nohamba found No 8 Francke Horne, who passed inside for flanker JC Pretorius to cross for the second try in the 12th minute.

At 14-3 down the Sharks were in trouble, and they were in more trouble eight minutes later when after the Lions had powered their way towards the line with their forwards, there was more pinpoint decision making from Nohamba as he used the short side from a loose scrum to put fullback Quan Horn in for the third try.

The Lions were certainly the stronger team at that point and the Sharks, who had made a lot of changes from this game, were looking disjointed on defence. The Lions were the dominant force in the scrum, forcing two penalties, and generally it was the Lions who had all the go forward and had the Sharks pinned in their own half.

The Sharks had been held up over the line once, so it wasn’t like they were firing any bullets, and they were held up again three minutes after the Lions’ third try as they started to get their power game going.

Former Griquas winger Eduard Keyter had featured quite prominently in taking the ball up in that attack, and should be pleased with his URC debut performance, but then featured as the finisher in an excellent try that started with Masuku charging down a Masuku kick and then regaining possession.

 A flat pass to former Westville schoolboy Ethan Hooker, in his first start at outside centre, sent the youngster on his way, and then a transfer inside back to Masuku saw the flyhalf barge his way towards the posts. When he was held up he popped the ball up for Keyter who completed the score.


The Sharks should have made it a two point game shortly before halftime when more good power play as the Durbanites took the direct route to the line was intermingled with some silky passing and handling, with Masuku again an influence, and Aphelele Fassi went over near the posts.

It was an easy conversion for Masuku but before he could make it 19-17 referee Aimee Barrett-Theron was notified by the TMO that there had been a dangerous clean-out from Sharks loosehead Ntuthuko Mchunu in the last recycle.

It had no impact on the play, but laws are laws, and Barrett-Theron had no alternative to disallow the try even though the Sharks had been on penalty advantage.

It was a poor disciplinary error, certainly not the first for the Sharks this season, and they have some work to do on that aspect of their game, and they need to get that through to their captain who wasn't good with his at times truculent communication with the referee.


Emirates Lions 40 - Tries: Sanele Nohamba, JC Pretorius, Quan Horn 2, Erich Cronje and Hanru Sirgel; Conversions: Jordan Hendrikse 5. Hollywoodbets

Sharks 10 - Try: Eduard Keyter; Conversion: Siya Masuku; Penalty: Siya Masuku