Hard-hitting Griquas upstage Sharks in bruising game

2012-09-10 00:00

KIMBERLEY and Griquas produced the expected street fight and the Sharks suffered, going down 15-22 in a tough, bruising Currie Cup match on Saturday.

It was the Sharks’ third successive loss in Kimberley, but this time it was to a Griqua team still prepared to niggle, but also happy to run with the ball as well as tackle superbly.

Griquas scored the only try of the match, a first-half lineout drive rewarding hard-working flank Marius Schoeman, while flyhalf Francois Brummer kicked all six of his goal attempts (one conversion and five penalties).

The Sharks’ Meyer Bosman continued his remarkable form with the boot, landing all five of his penalties for a third successive flawless kicking display.

Griquas had a decisive edge in territory and possession in the first half, but the Sharks played most of the rugby in the second and thought they had the game won when the eager Louis Ludik crossed under the poles in the 76th minute for what would have been a 22-19 lead.

But experimental laws being used in the competition resulted in the video referee ruling that there had been an obstruction a couple of phases earlier and the try was disallowed.

Sharks coach John Plumtree was philosophical about the decision (with the Odwa Ndungane try against Free State a week earlier, and confirmed by the video referee, no doubt still fresh in the mind).

“It was disappointing [not to be awarded the try], but that’s how the game goes,” he said yesterday.

“Ultimately, we didn’t deserve to win though we almost snatched a draw at the death.”

“We didn’t play smart enough in the first half and we played way too much rugby in our half,” he said.

“We didn’t put enough pressure on them so our tackle count was high. In the second half, we got a bit more direct and there was an improvement.”

Plumtree was satisfied with the Sharks’ defence, but said they had again made silly mistakes and given away too many penalties.

“The running of our backs was also too lateral and got pushed to the touchline. We always knew that Griquas would be very aggressive at the breakdown, their driving lineout is good. They were really up for it — just as we expected — and they are really tough to beat at home.”

The Sharks picked up a bonus point and stay on top of the log, but now share the position with Western Province and the Golden Lions.

“There is a whole round to go, so there is no desperation in our camp. But we have injuries and [centre] Paul Jordaan looks sore. He’ll probably struggle for next week and we don’t have a lot of depth in this squad, and that’s probably our biggest problem,” said Plumtree.

The Sharks now face Western Province at King’s Park on Saturday night (7.10 pm).

“We’re looking forward to being back at home, but it’s going to be a huge game for us.”

Griquas coach Pote Human was delighted with the win.

“We have a lot of respect for the Sharks and the type of rugby they play. We knew that our game wouldn’t be a walk in the park, regardless of what happened in the past. They came to Kimberley to collect maximum points and we managed to stop them from doing so. Our defence was simply outstanding,” Human said.

Western Province continued their recent revival with an excellent 29-22 win over the Free State Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

WP had the perfect start when full back Gio Aplon’s kick and chase produced a try in the opening minutes.

The Free Staters finally settled and led 19-13 at the break, but the scores were level with 20 minutes left to play. It was Province who sealed their win with a second try — by Marcel Brache — with Demetri Catrakillis converting for a haul of 19 points.

Captain Deon Fourie said he was proud of his WP team.

“We knew it would be difficult in Bloem­fontein, but the guys pulled through and proved their worth. There were some silly mistakes, no doubt. We need to have a look and rectify them before travelling to Durban. The Sharks is another big game for us. They always come with a bang and we will have to be at our best,” Fourie added.

The Golden Lions, under all sorts of pressure on and off the field, stunned Pretoria with a superb 32-23 victory over the Blue Bulls at Loftus on Saturday night.

A patchy first half gave way to an exciting second as the Lions were rewarded for their expansive rugby after leading 10-8 at the break following a try by Deon Helberg just before the break.

Three more second-half tries by Alwyn Hollenbach, Jaco Taute and Lionel Mapoe for the fast-finishing Lions put the match on ice and secured the bonus point which took them into a share of top spot on the log.

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