Early days: Stormers’ win just a warm-up, says Schalk Burger

2010-01-30 00:00

THE Stormers, with a strong second-half showing, were full value for their 29-14 win over a patchy Sharks side in the Super 14 friendly at Newlands last night.

The Sharks were in contention in the first half and trailed 9-14 at halftime in a tough physical contest, but they were shoddy behind the scrum.

The Stormers gained the ascendancy at forward after the break — when the Sharks played for 20 minutes with a seven-man pack — and their backs were sharper and more creative on

attack.

While the Sharks improved on their ragged form against the Western Force on Tuesday, there were still areas of concern and certainly the lack of thrust on attack and the shaky scrummaging will be of concern to coach John Plumtree.

Sharks captain John Smit, looking on the bright side of defeat but struggling with his own form, said he was delighted with the improvement in three days since the Force outing.

“We have been working hard and these two games have been invaluable in our preparation.”

Stormers captain Schalk Burger refused to read too much into the victory.

“It was good to get the win, and it is a boost for our confidence, but it really was just a warm-up game.”

The Sharks had the edge in territory and possession in the first half as they adapted more readily to referee Craig Joubert’s strict blowing of the laws at the breakdown. But they were ponderous on attack, occasionally kicking away possession in promising positions and all their first-half points came from the boot of Rory Kockott (three penalties).

The highlight of the first half, after just 13 minutes, was a try by Stormers captain Burger who was on the inside of wing Gio Aplon as the Stormers cleverly created an opening in the porous Sharks midfield. Joe Petersen missed the easy conversion, but he booted three penalties for the five-point lead at the break (14-9).

The Sharks, with a host of replacements on the field, started the second half with a flourish and Odwa Ndungane, Stefan Terblanche and Keegan Daniel combined superbly to release wing Luzuko Vulindlu for a try.

But the Stormers responded immediately, with Pietersen kicking his fourth penalty and then hooker Tiaan Liebenberg scoring from a lineout drive (24-14) after Sharks prop Jannie du Plessis had been sin-binned for infringing at the breakdown.

The try was awarded after referee Joubert, in an experimental move, reviewed the video replay behind the in-goal line for the first time in South Africa.

As Du Plessis returned, flank Jean Deysel was yellow-carded for a high tackle on Aplon and the Stormers took charge, outscrumming the Sharks, driving them back at the lineouts and launching a couple of dangerous sorties, until finally Fijian wing Sireli Naqelevuki beat a couple of defenders to score in the corner (29-14) to settle the contest after 73 minutes.

SCORERS:

Stormers — tries by Schalk Burger, Tiaan Liebenberg and Sireli Naqelevuki. Penalties by Joe Pietersen (4). Conversion by Pietersen.

Sharks – try by Luzuko Vulindlu and three penalties by Rory Kockott.

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