Sharks can take comfort from WP’s bullying of Blue Bulls

2009-07-19 00:00

SHARKS coach John Plumtree, looking ahead to Friday’s big Currie Cup game against the Blue Bulls at King’s Park, will have taken some comfort from the way the Western Province forwards bullied their hosts at Loftus on Saturday.

The Bulls came away with a 30-22 win, but their success was based on their excellent defensive effort — rather than their traditional forward power — and helped by Province’s poor finishing.

WP have in recent years battled at tight forward, but they held a definite edge over the Bulls in the set pieces on Saturday evening and matched them at the breakdown. But behind the scrum, they often kicked away possession and their poor handling cost them at least two tries when they did run with the ball.

Indeed, they had to rely heavily on the remarkable goalkicking of flyhalf Willem de Waal to keep them in touch as they were out-scored by three tries to one.

De Waal, from all angles and distances, kicked six out of six (five penalties and a touchline conversion of Luke Watson’s try).

The Bulls travel to Durban on Friday to meet the Sharks in a repeat of last year’s Currie Cup final. The match has been brought forward from a 7.30pm kick-off to 6 pm.

Plumtree said he was delighted with Sharks’ 44-10 win over Boland on Friday night.

“It was a good all-round team effort and the guys played with real pride in the Sharks jersey.”

The Sharks are missing 11 Springboks and Plumtree called for patience from the public and media in assessing his young team.

The Cheetahs, who appear to have mastered the art of losing games in the closing minutes, led 19-0 against the Lions after the first quarter and 22-19 with three minutes remaining before losing 31-22 to two late tries at Ellis Park.

Former Sharks flyhalf Herkie Kruger played his part in the win with four penalties and two conversions.

The Griquas stayed top of the Currie Cup log with their second five-point haul in a 36-11 win over newcomers, the North West Leopards. The victory was built on a strong Griqua pack and two tries by scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius.

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