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Second half Lions thrash 14-men Sharks in tour rematch

The British and Irish Lions made it three wins in South Africa when they defeated the Cell C Shar...

The British and Irish Lions made it three wins in South Africa when they defeated the Cell C Sharks for a second time on tour.

Originally scheduled to take on the Vodacom Bulls, a COVID-19 outbreak in the Pretoria-based side meant that an alternative had to be found.

After beating the Sharks by 54-7 on Wednesday, the Lions made a number of changes, coming into the encounter with a more settled team than the one that was forced into a number of changes three days prior.

The Lions got off to another fast start, with Duhan van der Merwe gliding through the Sharks' defence, before offloading to his Scottish teammate Chris Harris, who scored his first Lions try.

Dan Biggar maintained his 100% kicking record for the tourists, taking the visitors out to a seven-point lead in the first five minutes.

Unlike their previous encounter, the Sharks looked much more dangerous on the counter attack, as they levelled the scores five minutes later through a try from Anthony Volmink.

An uncharacteristic mistake from Elliott Daly, who knocked the ball on in midfield, was picked up by Marnus Potgieter, who released Volmink on the outside, who crossed over untouched.

The Lions would then go behind for the first time while in South Africa after a well-worked piece of play form the Sharks put them inside the tourists' 22m, before Lionel Cronje put in a grubber, which was pounced on by Thaakir Abrahams for the try.

The Lions looked rattled by a much improved Sharks performance, however were still able to march down the field deep inside the hosts' half.

The tourists levelled the scores midway through the first half, as captain on the day Jamie George capitalised on the lineout position to score from the back of the maul. Biggar missed his first kick of the series, as scores remained level.

The try fest in Pretoria continued as the sides traded tries in quick succession. First, the Sharks regained the lead after an intercept from Jaden Hendrikse was scored under the posts, converted by Cronje.

The Lions responded immediately, capitalising off of a mistake from the Sharks from the restart, and opening the Sharks up out wide, where Van der Merwe scored.

The tight tour schedule and difficult conditions of this particular tour seemed to get to the tourists in the latter stages of first half, as they began making a number of errors.

The Sharks were able to capitalise on those errors, scoring against the run of play after Abrahams regathered a knock on before offloading to Volmink for his second try.

With just one minute left of the first half, though, the scores were again levelled, this time by Tadhg Beirne who scored under the sticks after a pick and go from the base of the ruck caught the Sharks pillars off guard.

Biggar converted the try to take the teams to half time at 26-26, after a much improved performance from the South African side.

Sharks Lions George

The Sharks got off to a poor start to the second half, with Jaden Hendrikse being shown a red card for an elbow to the back of the head.

The Lions were able to take advantage of the extra man, as Jack Conan bashed his way over the line for his first Lions try, scoring in the corner with the help of Beirne.

Biggar's missed conversion meant that the lead was only five points, however that was soon extended to 12, after Elliot Daly exploited the extra space form being a man up, and the tourists taking a quick lineout from mid field.

The home side would not go down wondering though, as the Lions failed to clear the ball effectively from the restart. Conor Murray's box kick was charged down by Le Roux Roets, with Werner Kok pouncing on the loose ball to score in the corner.

The extra man ended up making the difference between the sides, though, as the match began to open up again. The tourists scored two tries in quick succession, with George getting his second, and Anthony Watson getting his first of the tour, to take the visitors out to a 21-point lead with 20 minutes to play.

The Sharks, who play the majority of their rugby at sea level in Durban, looked exhausted by the altitude of Pretoria late in the game, while the Lions began to speed the game up in loose play.

Beirne scored his second try off of a quick play from the ruck, before Watson broke the line again moments later to put Tom Curry into open space to score his first Lions try. Both scores were converted, taking the tourists out to an unassailable 35-point lead with 10 minutes left in the match.

With jut two minutes left on the clock, Watson made it a 40-point lead with his second try of the game, taking the tourists to 71 points in total before the Lions kicked the ball out, calling time on the Sharks' second attempt at beating the tourists.

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Anthony Volmink British And Irish Lions Chris Harris Dan Biggar Lionel Cronje Lions Sharks Thaakir Abrahams