Resurgent Sharks ride high

2013-03-25 00:00

THE Sharks finally burst into life with a record win over the Rebels at King’s Park on Saturday evening, and there were also significant weekend victories for the Stormers and Cheetahs.

The Sharks ran in 10 tries in an hour and then defended for the last quarter to beat the Melbourne-based franchise 64-7.

Down in Cape Town, Jake White’s Brumbies lost their four-match unbeaten record as they were outmuscled by the Stormers and lost 35-22.

And the Cheetahs continued to show character and courage in Perth where they chalked up their third successive win on the road by beating the Force 19-10. It was a game which ebbed and flowed with penalties before the lively Willie le Roux snatched a loose ball to seal the win with a try three minutes from the final whistle.

The Sharks did everything their coach asked of them in overwhelming the Rebels. After having scored only three tries in their previous four games, and in 320 minutes of rugby, the Sharks were in hungry mood against the Rebels. They had four tries for a bonus point within half-an-hour and the feeding frenzy after the break brought another six tries in just 18 minutes.

With 22 minutes remaining, the Sharks were 64-0 ahead and scoring at will. But, disrupted by change as players came and went, they lost their appetite, their structure and the ball and the Rebels dominated possession and territory for the last quarter to end the party fun.

The Rebels were, in a word, dreadful. They had no counter to the home team’s driving maul — and this yielded four tries — while they were porous in defence and kept gifting the Sharks possession.

Still, John Plumtree’s eight changes worked a treat and the talented, 20-year-old Pieter-Stef du Toit, on attack and defence, the hard-driving Kyle Cooper, Cobus Reinach and Keegan Daniel, at number eight, played massive roles in the win.

The Stormers, with four tries, had the most satisfying of wins at Newlands and Brumbies coach Jake White, who had been critical of the home team’s attack, was generous in his praise.

“That is not the way we wanted to end the tour after beating the Sharks, but the Stormers played some quality rugby,” he said.

“As good as we were last week in the first 40 minutes, we were as poor this week in terms of finishing things that we started.

“The Stormers were desperate for a win. As soon as we let them get a few points ahead it meant that we had to chase the game which is not easy at Newlands.”

Stormers coach Allister Coetzee praised the aggressive approach of his team.

“We physically dominated on the gain line. Our set-piece functioned well and it was a great effort to score four tries against a quality side like the Brumbies.”

The Bulls came within the width of the sideline of completing a South African clean sweep over the Australian teams when they went down 23-18 in Brisbane.

JJ Engelbrecht thought he had scored in the last move of the game, but he clipped the sideline as he went over and the Reds, with two tries to nil, beat the Bulls’ six penalties.

The Bulls now face the Brumbies, who will be travelling back to Canberra after their tour of South Africa.

The Crusaders warmed up for their South African tour — and matches against the Stormers and Sharks — with a 55-20 win over the Southern Kings in Christchurch. The Crusaders dominated all the early possession to streak away and they were never threatened. Still, the Kings refused to lie down and they had the satisfaction of scoring the last try of the game, an excellent, long-range effort by George Whitehead.

The Crusaders will travel to Cape Town and Durban without All Black flyhalf Dan Carter who is staying at home for the birth of his first child.

Saturday’s scores and scorers (home team first):

Sharks 64 — Tries: Louis Ludik (2), Marcell Coetzee, Jacques Botes, Keegan Daniel, Kyle Cooper, Cobus Reinach, Tendai Mtwarira, Ryan Kankowski, Riaan Viljoen. Conversions: Pat Lambie (2), Meyer Bosman (5). Rebels 7- Try: Scott Higginbotham. Conversion: James O`Connor

Stormers 35 — Tries: Gio Aplon, Andries Bekker (2), Gerhard van der Heever. Conversions: Joe Pietersen (3). Penalties: Pietersen (3). Brumbies 22 — Try: Henry Speight. Conversion: Christian Lealiifano. Penalties: Lealiifano (4).

Force 10 — Try: Winston Stanley. Conversion: Sias Ebersohn. Penalty: Jayden Hayward. Cheetahs 19 — Try: Willie le Roux. Conversion: Riaan Smit. Penalties: Riaan Smit (4).

Reds 23 – Tries: Jonno Lance, Quade Cooper. Conversions: Cooper (2). Penalty: Cooper (3). Bulls18 — Penalties: Louis Fouche (5), Morne Steyn.

Crusaders 55 – Tries: George Whitelock (3), Wyatt Crockett, Willi Heinz, Matt Todd, Luke Whitelock. Conversions: Dan Carter (5), Tyler Bleyendaal. Penalties: Carter (2). Kings 20 – Tries: Wimpie van der Walt, George Whitehead. Conversions: Demetri Catrakilis, George Whitehead. Penalties: Catrakillis (2).

Played yesterday:

Waratahs 30 – Tries: Drew Mitchell, Israel Folau, Bernard Foley. Conversions: Brendan McKibbin (1), Bernard Foley (2). Penalties: Brendan McKibbin (1), Bernard Foley (2) . Blues 27 – Tries: James Parsons, Chris Noakes, Charles Piutau. Conversions: Chris Noakes (3). Penalties: Chris Noakes (2).

Played Friday

Chiefs 19 Highlanders 7

Bye: Hurricanes (NZL)

Weekend’s fixtures (SA times, home team first):

Friday:

Highlanders v Reds 8.35 am

Saturday:

Hurricanes v Kings 5.35 am

Chiefs v Blues 8.35 am

Brumbies v Bulls 10.40 am

Cheetahs v Rebels 5.05 pm

Stormers v Crusaders 7.10 pm

Sunday

Waratahs v Force 7.05 am.

Bye: Sharks

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