Reign of Tera starts with scrappy win

2014-08-11 00:00

THE Sharks came out of their first Currie Cup encounter relatively unscathed and managed to blood two new scrumhalves in the process.

Captain Tera Mtembu recorded his first win at the helm as they beat the Griquas 31-24 on Saturday. The victory was important considering the Sharks’ history of difficult performances at GWK Park.

Playing on debut, scrumhalf Cameron Wright ticked many of the boxes that would have been expected of him. His service was quick and accurate despite a big battle at the breakdown. He also faced a tough test as Griquas scrumhalf Tian Meyer had a good game himself.

Sharks coach Brad Macleod-Henderson was pleased with the performances of a number of new faces. “I am very happy with some of the younger players who really stepped up and performed well. Everyone contributed on the day and we are now focusing on next week against the Pumas,” Macleod-Henderson told Sapa.

Critics may say the Sharks got lucky after Griquas centre Jonathan Francke copped a red card in the seventh minute for a dangerous tip tackle on Sharks fullback SP Marais.

Griquas coach Hawies Fourie shied away from blaming the call for the loss and encouraged his charges to keep playing. “We had a huge setback with Jonathan being red-carded,” Fourie said.

“It put us on the back foot, especially in the first half. We had a talk at half-time and I told the players just to remain calm and we will get back in the game.”

The home side took this to heart and scored three tries in the second half to give the visitors a scare. However the one-man overlap proved too much.

Last week Macleod-Henderson spoke of the importance of carrying a tried and tested centre combination into the Currie Cup. Paul Jordaan and S’bura Sithole were in great form and capitalised on a 14-man Griquas team.

Both centres scored tries and made a number of line breaks and telling tackles during the game. Sithole was the standout performer and will be one to watch throughout the tournament.

The Sharks didn’t manage to secure a bonus point win, but four points away from home is still a good result. As can be expected in the first game of the season, there was a bit of rust to be worked off and general accuracy was not quite up to standard.

“It was a scrappy game at times and we were put under pressure at some instances, but in the end we pulled through,” Macleod-Henderson said.

The next hurdle for the Sharks is the Pumas, who they host in Durban on Friday night. The Pumas beat the Cheetahs 28-21 this weekend, although the Bloemfontein outfit have lost a host of players to the Springboks, other unions and overseas clubs.


Sharks 31 (18) - Tries: Jordaan, Sithole, Zeilinga. Conversions: Zelinga (2). Penalties: Zeilinga (4)

Griquas 24 (3) - Tries: Schoeman, Greeff, Arendse

Conversions: Scheepers (3). Penalties: Scheepers (1)

Other weekend results:

Western Province 35 EP Kings 16

Lions 41 Bulls 13

Pumas 28 Cheetahs 21

Upcoming fixtures:

Sharks vs Pumas King’s Park, Durban 7.10 pm

Western Province vs Blue Bulls Newlands, Cape Town 2 pm

Golden Lions vs EP Kings Ellis Park, Johannesburg 2 pm

Free State Cheetahs vs Griquas Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein 3 pm

South Africa vs Argentina Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria 5 pm.

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