B&I Lions beat 14-man Sharks 71-31 after 1st half struggles

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — The British and Irish Lions overcame a troublesome first half when they conceded four tries and made costly errors to ultimately blow away the 14-man Sharks 71-31 in South Africa on Saturday.

The teams were locked at 26-26 at halftime at Loftus Versfeld after the Sharks pounced on errors by the Lions for three of their four first-half tries.

The Lions also scored four tries in that first 40 but the touring team was the one under pressure at the break. Lions coach Warren Gatland watched the first half stern-faced and with his arms crossed for most of it.

The game changed decisively in the Lions' favor when Sharks scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse was sent off early in the second half for an elbow to the back of Lions fullback Liam Williams’ head.

It was still 26-26 when Hendrikse walked. But from there the Lions piled on seven second-half tries and scored 11 in total to win with ease.

England hooker and Lions captain for the night Jamie George finished with a double as did flanker Tadhg Beirne and winger Anthony Watson.

Lions tour captain Conor Murray made an appearance off the bench in the second half but didn't have a great night. He had a kick charged down for the Sharks' only try of the second half and didn't finish the game after being sent to the sin-bin.

It was the second straight game between the Lions and the Sharks after the Lions won 54-7 in Johannesburg on Wednesday. The Lions were meant to face the Bulls at Loftus but the Bulls withdrew because of coronavirus cases in their squad, and the Sharks agreed to line up against the touring team for a second time in four days.

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More AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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