Sharks battle past WP

2014-10-13 00:00

THE Sharks battled past a second-string Western Province outfit on Saturday even though the result was a dead-rubber in terms of booking a home semi-final.

The fate of the Durban lads was already sealed before kick-off when news filtered through of the Lions’ 47-7 drubbing of the Cheetahs. The men from Free State needed to beat them in order for the Sharks to get a home fixture in the knockouts.

The Sharks now have the daunting task of travelling to Johannesburg to take on the Lions next weekend. On paper, one would favour the Lions to win it after such a compelling victory this weekend but the Sharks have a recipe for beating them, having done so two weeks ago.

The weekend’s win will be a confidence booster but the Sharks have spoken clearly all season about the importance of accuracy on attack and discipline on defence. Their performance was not clinical even though the result said otherwise.

The Sharks would have fancied themselves to run away with the match considering that Province coach Allister Coetzee named a second string side for the clash. However, the depth of his squad showed and their defence was almost impregnable once again.

A number of missed opportunities and handling errors might worry coach Brad Macleod-Henderson, but there were plenty of positives to take out of the final game of the round-robin stages.

The Sharks defence was much improved despite an impressive individual try by Michaelhouse old boy Pat Howard, who stepped in and out of the Sharks line before burning his way to the try line.

They did their best to disrupt Province at the set piece — an impressive feat with the likes of Brok Harris in the Western Cape front row. Both teams worked the lineouts well but the Sharks put it to better use with Lourens Adriaanse going over from a well worked maul.

A standout performer was Sharks captain Tera Mtembu, who also earned the man of the match award for his efforts. Mtembu has seemed to get better as the tournament has progressed. His skill set is particularly great to watch — a good example being his soft hands that put S’bura Sithole away for the first try of the match on Saturday. Mtembu didn’t shy away from the tough stuff either and worked hard at the breakdown against Province.

He will have to take that into this weekend’s match, as the Sharks will need some inspiration to tame the Lions at home.

Western Province host the Bulls next Saturday in the second semi-final of the competition at 5 pm at Newlands. The Sharks take on the Lions at 2.30 pm at Ellis Park.

If the Sharks and Bulls win, the Currie Cup final will be played in Durban.

Sharks 28 (11) – Tries: S’bura Sithole, Lourens Adriaanse. Penalties: Lionel Cronje(5), Fred Zeilinga.

Western Province 20 (20) – Tries: Pat Howard, Kurt Coleman. Conversions: Kurt Coleman (2). Penalties: Kurt Coleman (2).

WEEKEND RESULTS

Bulls 46 - 12 Griquas - Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria.

WP 20 - 28 Sharks - Newlands, Cape Town.

Lions 47 - 7 Cheetahs Ellis Park, Johannesburg.

Kings 26 - 25 Pumas - Nelson Mandela Stadium, Port Elizabeth.

SEMI-FINAL FIXTURES

Lions vs Sharks, 2.30 pm at Ellis Park, Johannesburg.

WP vs Bulls, 5 pm at Newlands, Cape Town.

FINAL CURRIE CUP LOG

Team P W D L BPts Pts

WP 10 8 0 2 7 39

Lions 10 7 0 3 8 36

Sharks 10 7 1 2 3 33

Bulls 10 6 0 4 4 28

Ch’hs 10 3 1 6 7 21

Pumas 10 4 0 6 4 20

Griq 10 3 0 7 4 16

Kings 10 1 0 9 2 6

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