Sharks scrum-half red-carded for an elbow to the head of Liam Williams as Lions win 71-31 in Pretoria

Jaden Hendrikse sent off against Lions

Jaden Hendrikse was sent off early in the second half of the Sharks’ 71-31 defeat by the British & Irish Lions at Loftus Versfeld.

Wayne Barnes red-carded the Sharks scrum-half for an elbow to the head of Liam Williams.

The incident happened in the 46th minute as the Sharks dragged ball-carrier Williams into touch.

Hendrikse and Dylan Richardson combined to force the Lions 2021 full-back over the whitewash, and Hendrikse clearly made contact with Williams’s head with his elbow.

He becomes only the fifth player to be sent off against the Lions.

Up until that point the Sharks had been hugely competitive, but being reduced to 14 men so early in the second half put them on the back foot and the Lions scored seven second-half tries.

It was a much-changed Sharks side from that which lost 54-7 to the Lions on Wednesday in Johannesburg and they caused the tourists problems in the first 40, putting on pressure with their line speed in defence and picking off loose passes.

Hendrikse had done just that to opposite number Gareth Davies in the 24th minute, intercepting the scrum-half’s pass to touch down under the posts.

Full-back Anthony Volmink crossed twice for the Sharks in that opening half while Thaakir Abrahams also scored to make it 26-26 at the break.

The Lions’ first-half tries came from Chris Harris, Duhan van der Merwe, Jamie George and Tadhg Beirne.

The number of unforced errors from the Lions will have been a concern for Warren Gatland and the Lions coaches, but a more testing fixture was also needed and they will no doubt have been pleased by the response in the second half.

Momentum swung the Lions’ way following the red card, with Jack Conan and Elliot Daly – later named Player of the Match – scoring in the space of two minutes.

Werner Kok crossed after a Conor Murray kick was charged down but after that the only scores came from the Lions – George, Beirne, Anthony Watson (two) and Tom Curry all getting tries.

The 40-point winning margin belies how much the Lions were tested by the Sharks, particularly in the first half, but they move onto Cape Town with four wins from four.

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