Ruan Combrinck’s monster 58-metre penalty in the 78th minute gave the Lions a dramatic 23-21 victory over the Sharks to send them into the Super Rugby semi-finals.


If 2016 runners-up the Lions – who entered the knockout rounds with the best regular-season record – are to make it to the final for a second successive season they will need to overcome the Hurricanes, who beat them in last year’s showpiece.

Johan Ackermann’s side look destined for defeat as they trailed 14-3 at half-time, Jacobus van Wyk touching down the only try of the opening period for the visitors.

The Lions roared back through Franco Mostert, Jaco Kriel and Lionel Mapoe, but Curwin Bosch converted a score from Daniel du Preez to give the Sharks a one-point lead with 13 minutes remaining.

But Combrinck split the posts from inside his own half in the closing stages to send the Johannesburg side into the final four, where they will come up against a New Zealand franchise for the first time this season.


The Lions are the only team from outside New Zealand in the final four after the Chiefs clinched a 17-11 victory away to the Stormers in Cape Town.

Damian McKenzie kicked four penalties to put Dave Rennie’s side ahead, but SP Marais set up a tense finale with a three-pointer just after the hour mark.

The decisive moment came when Shaun Stevenson dived over the line on the right with four minutes remaining, and a trip to the Crusaders now stands between the Chiefs and the final.


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