Sharks bully Kings in hollow win

2013-07-14 14:00

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Once again, the Durban side runs riot over a lesser team.

The Sharks wrapped up their thrillingly inconsistent season with a hollow but effective win at home.

It was one of their better performances, but like their 64-7 hammering of the Rebels earlier in the season, it seemed the Sharks always had their teeth sharpened for the weaker teams but were unable to take bites out of tougher skins.

The 40-point deficit gave the game a feeling of a blowout, but with the game not having a bearing on the play-off places, it was nothing more than a glorified hit-out.

With their fate sealed two weeks ago, all the Sharks had to play for was pride and to finish in the top half of the table.

Their first-half performance, led by their powerful forwards, had a lot to do with the flattering scoreline, which makes the Kings look thoroughly outplayed.

But that would be far from the truth, as the Kings wrapped up their maiden Super Rugby season with a feisty performance that has been a hallmark of their season.

While outplayed for most parts of the game, their forwards gave a good account of themselves.

On any good day, Jean Deysel, Bismarck du Plessis and Marcell Coetzee are a handful for any team and the latter two found themselves crossing the whitewash.

With his 112kg frame, breaking the advantage line for Deysel was like taking candy from a baby.

The Lions, who have been running roughshod over their opponents in warm-up matches, will have more than a match on their hands.

The lack of knockout pressure ensured that the game would be played with a high tempo, which is inversely proportional to intensity.

The Kings’ first and the opening try, scored by George Whitehead was indicative of this.

Makeshift fly half Riaan Viljoen tried to run from his 22 area but the resultant pass from Meyer Bosman was snaffled by Waylon Murray, who cleverly flicked to Whitehead.

It was the kind of decision making that has blighted the Sharks throughout the season.

It also showed some disrespect towards their opponents and they did not try their basketball rugby, passing the ball helter-skelter.

They reverted to using their powerful forwards at mauls to the greatest effect, which produced three tries and a yellow card for Kings flanker Devin Oosthuizen in the 33rd minute.

With a return to pragmatic rugby in the second half, the Sharks benefited from the possession earned by their forwards.

The scraps the Kings had to use to score their two first-half tries were now washed off the ground and they had to resort to dogged defence. While it had held them in good stead for the best part of the season, this was one game too many.

They will need to save themselves for their promotion/relegation play-off in two weeks’ time.

The hosts scored some enterprising and excellent tries through Viljoen and Louis Ludik as the backs finally decided to join the party.

It was not one-way traffic, but singular pockets of resistance will never have the firepower of a collective effort to stop the Sharks.

The Sharks scored two late tries through Bosman and Fred Zeilinga to complete a rather easy day at the office.

What it did not mask was a rather underwhelming season.

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