A fine performance

2014-03-31 00:00

THE Sharks produced a performance worthy of title contenders when they beat the Waratahs 32-10 at King’s Park Stadium on Saturday evening.

Waratahs coach Michael Cheika thought it was close, but according to the scoreboard, it was anything but as the Sharks’ depth came through with flying colours on a warm night in Durban.

Just like the Reds two weeks ago, the Sydney-based Waratahs were let down by their penalty count as stand-in flyhalf Fred Zeilinga and inside centre Frans Steyn regularly kept the scoreboard ticking over.

After flyhalf Bernard Foley had opened the scoring with a penalty, the ’Tahs, who were missing the prolific Israel Folau, could have scored an early try when Adam Ashley-Cooper danced through the Sharks’ backline, only to be brought down metres from the try line by a covering Willem Alberts.

Both sides were lucky to finish the half with 15 men on the field as Rob Horne and Steyn should have been shown yellow cards — in the very least — for foul play. Loud boos rang around the Shark Tank when referee Mike Fraser only awarded a penalty for Horne’s high tackle on Steyn.

Fraser also awarded a penalty when Steyn flung Kurtley Beale to the ground with the latter having to receive treatment off the pitch after hitting his head on the hard King’s Park turf. Both players are facing possible suspension after they cited following the game.

As the half went on, the Waratahs’ discipline went out the door as they gave away penalty after penalty, which Zeilinga and Steyn duly kicked over.

With both sides coughing up the ball a number of times, it was only penalties that kept the scoreboard ticking in the first half, and by half, the Sharks led 12-3.

The second half didn’t start any better for the Waratahs as they lost captain David Dennis who was yellow carded for an off-the-ball incident with Sharks skipper Bismarck du Plessis.

The Sharks kicked up a gear, and were rewarded when Ryan Kankowski got over from a drive. Zeilinga was successful with the conversion, and the Sharks led 19-3 with 30 minutes still to play.

Another Zeilinga penalty made it 22-3 before Keegan Daniel, playing his first game of the season for the team he used to captain scored the Sharks’ second try and killed the game off as a contest.

The Sydneysiders were rewarded with a try of their own through Foley with two minutes to play, but it was Zeilinga’s boot that had the last say of the match as he slotted a penalty kick to make the final score 32-10 to the home side.

Earlier on, the two-time reigning champions Chiefs fought back against the three-time champions Bulls in a game that was characterised by a typical Victor Matfield performance.

The legendary lock rolled back the years and played a vintage game as the Bulls built up a 16-point lead in front of their fans at fortress Loftus Versfeld.

But, with 11 minutes remaining on the board, the Chiefs ran the ball from a scrum in their 22 and scored through Gareth Anscombe. Aaron Cruden then scored a try and converted it at the death to tie the scores 34-34.

Before that, the Stormers’ season continued on a downward spiral when they were beaten once again, this time losing 22-17 to the Reds in Brisbane.

Following the game, a defiant Allister Coetzee said they were making the same mistakes, but was confident they could rectify them.

“I still believe that we have the ability to beat any team, unfortunately we’re still making the same mistakes at crucial moments. It’s been our trend, but it’s something that we can rectify,” Coetzee was quoted by Sport24.

“Our lineout let us down today, and we made a few mistakes in trying to run the ball from deep in the second half, but I cannot fault the players’ effort … The effort is there,” he said.

The Stormers’ effort so far this season has seen them win just one game — against the Hurricanes at Newlands — and lose five in the six they have played, to find themselves sitting second from bottom, a point above the Cheetahs.


Sharks vs Waratahs:

Sharks — Tries: Ryan Kankowski, Keegan Daniel. Conversions: Fred Zeilinga (2). Penalties: Fred Zeilinga (5), Frans Steyn.

Waratahs — Try: Bernard Foley. Conversion: Bernard Foley. Penalty: Bernard Foley.

Bulls vs Chiefs:

Bulls — Tries: Deon Stegmann, penalty try, Bjorn Basson. Conversions: Jacques-Louis Potgieter (2). Penalties: Jacques-Louis Potgieter (5).

Chiefs — Tries: Mills Muliaina, Liam Messam, Gareth Anscombe, Matt Symons, Aaron Cruden. Conversions: Aaron Cruden, Gareth Anscombe (2). Penalty: Aaron Cruden.

Reds vs Stormers:

Reds — Try: Rob Simmons. Conversion: Quade Cooper. Penalty: Quade Cooper (4). Drop goal: Quade Cooper.

Stormers — Try: Damian de Allande, Sikhumbuzo Notshe. Conversions: Peter Grant, Demetri Catrakilis. Penalty: Peter Grant.

Friday’s results: Crusaders 26, Hurricanes 29; Rebels 32, Brumbies 24

Saturday’s results: Blues 30, Highlanders 12; Reds 22, Stormers 17; Bulls 34, Chiefs 34; Sharks 32, Waratahs 10.


P W D L PD BPts Pts

Sharks 6 5 0 1 80 3 23

Brumbies 6 4 0 2 18 1 17

Chiefs 5 3 1 1 23 3 17

Lions (Q) 6 4 0 2 9 0 16

Waratahs (Q) 5 3 0 2 46 4 16

Blues (Q) 6 3 0 3 12 4 16

Bulls 6 3 1 2 7 2 16

Force 5 3 0 2 -5 2 14

Reds 6 3 0 3 -20 2 14

H'canes 6 2 0 4 5 4 12

H'ders 5 2 0 3 -10 3 11

Rebels 5 2 0 3 -26 2 10

Saders 5 2 0 3 -15 1 9

Stormers 6 1 0 5 -55 2 6

Cheetahs 6 1 0 5 -69 1 5

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