United Rugby Championship: Ulster win at Sharks while Lions end drought against Glasgow Warriors
Ulster claimed a 31-24 victory over the Sharks at Kings Park as they consolidated their place in third spot of the United Rugby Championship table.
A try double from hooker Tom Stewart was added to in the second period by Stewart Moore and Harry Sheridan as the visitors picked up a bonus-point triumph.
Just over one minute was on the clock when Sharks scrum-half Grant Williams took advantage of successive defensive lapses to accelerate over the line for a try.
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A period of Ulster dominance followed, however, with a John Cooney penalty followed by a breakthrough at the line-out that saw Stewart touch down.
The Sharks regained the initiative when wing Thaakir Abrahams raced on to a chip ahead, evading a despairing tackle by Craig Gilroy in the process.
For all their instinctive back play, the Durban-based province were proving fallible at the maul, and Ulster helped themselves to a second try with Stewart once again providing the finishing touch.
Aaron Sexton was almost over in the left corner, but he was bundled into touch at the last possible moment, and three minutes into the second half the visitors extended their lead through Moore.
It was an opportunistic score by the inside centre who, having seen Williams roll the ball over his own whitewash as the Sharks were about to clear their line, came around the side of the ruck and touched down.
Prop Ntuthuko Mchunu went over from close range after a series of forward carries to slash the deficit to five points, but lock Sheridan showed tremendous strength to cross despite the attention of several defenders, restoring some breathing space.
The Sharks refused to throw in the towel, and when Werner Kok broke from deep inside his own half, full-back Boeta Chamberlain was on hand to finish.
Despite heavy pressure in the last 10 minutes, they were unable to unpick the visiting defence again.
Lions end five-game losing run
The Lions survived a sending-off, two sin-binnings and a Glasgow fightback to claim a hard-fought 35-24 win in the United Rugby Championship on Saturday.
Tries from Sanele Nohamba, Francke Horn, Manuel Rass, Edwill van der Merwe and Ruan Venter put the hosts in a commanding position at Johannesburg’s Emirates Airline Park, but their ill discipline could have proved costly.
Van der Merwe and Quan Horn both received yellow cards before Ruan Dreyer was shown a red, and Glasgow responded as Tom Jordan and Thomas Gordon added to earlier tries from Eli Caven and Carl Forbes.
But with Gianni Lombard supplementing the score with two conversions and two penalties, the hosts had enough to hold on.
Glasgow started well as Sam Johnson, making his 100th Warriors appearance, burst through a gap from a line-out to send Caven over.
Forbes went close to adding another but was stopped short, and the Lions hit back with four tries in quick succession.
The first came after Van Der Merwe broke down the left and stepped inside to release Nohamba, and another quickly followed as Francke Horn pounced on a Warriors handling error.
Rass barged through two tackles to claim a third before Warriors number eight Sione Vailanu was sin-binned for a bad tackle after the Lions had halted a counter-attack.
The Lions secured their bonus point before half-time as Lombard found Van der Merwe out wide with a looping pass.
The first period ended scrappily as the Lions misjudged the restart, and Matthews gathered to set up Forbes, but Glasgow then made a similar mistake. This time Johnson dropped the ball and Lombard made it 27-14 at the interval.
The Lions lost Van der Merwe to the sin bin for an infringement in a tackle, but it did not hold back the hosts as Venter – playing after the death of his father this week – burrowed over for an emotional try.
The Warriors replied as Jordan scored on the right, and Gordon was driven over from a line-out after Quan Horn was yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-on.
The Lions were hampered again as Dreyer was sent off for a dangerous challenge, but Rabz Maxwane produced a fine tackle to prevent Jamie Dobie reducing the deficit further.
Another Lombard penalty gave the Lions breathing space, and they held on to end a five-game losing run.
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