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Sharks extend Currie Cup win run to eight games

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Johannesburg (AFP)

Sharks stretched a winning streak to eight matches in the South African Currie Cup by defeating Griquas 40-22 in Kimberley this weekend.

After falling behind to a third-minute try in the northern Cape city, the Durban outfit recovered to lead 19-7 by half-time.

It was an advantage the table toppers were never in serious danger of surrendering despite the never-say-die spirit of the home side throughout.

Centres Marius Louw and Jeremy Ward scored two tries and frowards Ross Geldenhuys and Keegan Daniel one while fly-half Curwin Bosch slotted five conversions.

Backs Kyle Steyn and Enver Brandt and substitute forward Wilmar Arnoldi were Griquas' try scorers with fly-half George Whitehead converting two and kicking a penalty.

The seven points from Whitehead made him the leading scorer in the competition this season with 62, two more than Blue Bulls fly-half Tony Jantjies.

Victory lifted Sharks to 39 points, 14 above defending champions Free State Cheetahs and Golden Lions.

Sharks lost heavily at Cheetahs in the opening round before embarking on a string of victories in a competition first staged 126 years ago.

Chasing a first title since 2013, Sharks complete the league section of the competition with home matches against Blue Bulls, Lions and Western Province.

Finishing top of the table gives a team home advantage in the semi-finals and, if successful, the final.

Lions edged Bulls 36-33 in a thriller at Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg to continue a revival after starting the season sluggishly.

With each team scoring five tries and converting four, a penalty by Lions full-back Jaco van der Walt proved the difference.

Van der Walt kicked 11 points and Springbok centre Rohan Janse van Rensburg scored two tries for the Lions, who had lock Andries Ferreira sin-binned during the first half.

His temporary expulsion followed almost immediately after Bulls flanker Jannes Kirsten was yellow-carded.

A fifth defeat in eight matches left 23-time champions Bulls sixth, with only traditional strugglers Griquas beneath them.

Pumas share fourth place with Western Province after coming from nine points behind to beat them 22-12 in northeastern city Nelspruit.

Province suffered a major blow when trailing by five points as scrum-half Jano Vermaak was sin-binned for a reckless tackle.

Fly-half Kobus Marais top scored for Pumas with 12 points from a try, two conversions and a penalty.

Province flier and World Sevens Series star Seabelo Senatla scored his seventh try this season.

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