Mvovo try takes Sharks to top of table
Sharks player Lwazi Mvovo runs during a Super 15 rugby match on March 31, 2012 - by Mark Graham
The Durban franchise were just three points ahead in a fiercely contested South African showdown at Ellis Park in Johannesburg when full-back Mvovo struck 13 minutes from time.
Centre S'bura Sithole forced a turnover near the touchline and Mvovo darted down the flank, caught his chip and darted over to land a decisive blow against the Lions.
Francois Steyn, who started at inside centre and moved to fly-half midway through the opening half when Fred Zeilinga pulled a hamstring, converted.
The 2007 Rugby World Cup winner added a penalty to complete the scoring and give the Sharks a two-point lead at the top.
Sharks have 27 points, the Australian ACT Brumbies 25 and the New Zealand Waikato Chiefs 24 on the combined southern hemisphere provincial championship standings.
It was the sixth victory in seven outings for an experienced team coached by 2007 World Cup-winning coach Jake White, but five of the matches have been at home.
Lions remain ninth with 16 points as an eight-match sequence of winning two games and then losing two continued having failed against the New Zealand Canterbury Crusaders last weekend.
"That was a really tough game and it took us a long time to score a try against a brilliant Lions defence," said Sharks hooker and skipper Bismarck du Plessis.
"We have made a good start to the season, but there is a long road ahead and the last five league games will be crucial."
Lions No. 8 and skipper Warren Whiteley praised his team-mates for battling bravely to try and avenge a 37-23 early-season loss in Durban.
"We matched the Sharks for 60 minutes, but were not clinical enough when the team got close to the try-line," he admitted.
"Let me give credit to the Sharks for capitalising on our mistakes -- some of those penalties from Francois Steyn were magnificent."
Steyn slotted two monster early-second half penalties to earn the Sharks a six-point advantage after the first half finished 6-6 before a 30,000 crowd.
Zeilinga kicked two early penalties within a minute before being forced off and leading Super 15 scorer Marnitz Boshoff also potted two shots at goal.
Boshoff slotted two more penalties in the second half, raising his season total to 121 points, and Steyn landed his third penalty before Mvovo struck.
Sharks host second-last Central Cheetahs next Saturday a couple of hours before the Lions tackle bottom team Western Stormers in Cape Town.