Sharks keep Rainbow Cup hopes alive

07 June 2021 | Sports

SuperSport



A stellar performance by World Cup winner Makazole Mapimpi kept the Cell C Sharks’ Rainbow Cup hopes alive with a bonus-point 33-21 victory over the Emirates Lions at Ellis Park on Saturday.

After the Vodacom Bulls’ win over the DHL Stormers on Friday night, the Sharks needed to win with a bonus point to still be in the hunt to claim the South African spot for the final to be played in Treviso, Italy, on 19 June.

And after a top-class forward performance and some exceptional play by Mapimpi, who underlined his class with some stellar runs, the Sharks took control of the game and took the bonus point needed to guarantee a showdown for that final place next weekend in Durban.

It leaves an easy equation - the Sharks will need to beat the Bulls with a bonus point and deny their opposition one in the next match to oust the Pretoria side.

And while they may be affected by players they need to rest according to the agreement with SA Rugby, they are still - at least - in with a chance.

Big disappointment

For the Lions, the defeat was a big disappointment after their win over the Bulls the previous week and showed when their scrum couldn’t get them penalties, as it did against the Bulls, they were bound to struggle.

The Sharks controlled the momentum and pace and had almost 70% of the possession, giving themselves enough chances to take the game away from the home side.

Considering the Sharks last won in Johannesburg in 2014, it was a good way to send a message across the Jukskei to Pretoria, with their rolling maul particularly powerful and contributing two of the four tries.