Sharks slice through Cavaliers

2008-08-29 00:00

The Sharks continued their impressive second half Currie Cup revival in Wellington (Western Cape) yesterday when they picked their way through the puddles on their way to an emphatic 41-7 win over the Boland Cavaliers.

The Sharks made light of the paddy field conditions to run in six tries to the lone consolation effort by Boland, scored after the final whistle when they Sharks were playing with 13 men.

It was a flurry of scoring in the first 10 minutes of the second half, which turned this contest into a rout and kept the Sharks firmly in the chase for a semi-final berth.

Captain and centre Brad Barritt said the Sharks had expected the conditions and had prepared on the beach in Durban to ready themselves for playing on a heavy field.

“We knew Boland would come at us in the first half and we wanted to weather that storm first.

We stuck to our game plan and the forwards made it easy for us backs in the second half.”

Pools of water greeted the players as they took to the field and the suggestion was that it would be a tight, low-scoring affair, with the Sharks concentrating their efforts on securing a win rather than concerning themselves with the four tries needed for a bonus point.

But John Plumtree’s players took to the Wellington wet like ducks to water and they were never threatened by the home side playing in familiar conditions.

The Sharks controlled territory and possession from the start, though they only had one try, scored against the upright by captain and centre Brad Barritt after an excellent break by wing Chris Jordaan, to show for their first-half efforts.

Frenchman Frederic Michalak converted and added a penalty for the Sharks to lead 10-0 at half-time.

The Sharks took control after the break and, ignoring the slippery conditions and wet ball, they took the ball through the phases to set up tries for flank Jacques Botes, wing Waylon Murray and number eight Keegan Daniel,

The Sharke were ahead 29-0 just 10 minutes into the second half and they had their bonus point safely tucked away.

Midway through the half, a quickly rucked ball fashioned a second try for Murray, who looked happier on the wing than at centre, and the lively Jordaan completed their scoring as the game went into the final quarter.

Plumtree emptied his bench as the clock wound down while referee Jonathan Kaplan appeared to take pity on the pressured, outclassed Bolanders in the closing stages, blowing the Sharks out of the game and yellow-carding two of their replacements, Craig Burden and Rory Kockott, for fouls at the breakdown. This allowed Boland to come away with a try by wing Alvin Hugo after the hooter, but the damage had already been done.

The Sharks and Plumtree have every reason to be satisfied with this outing. They maintained continuity in the dreadful conditions, their running on to the ball at pace was impressive and their defence was solid and organised.

The only areas of concern was the inaccurate kicking out of hand while their scrum was tested by the Boland forwards.

Boland captain Dries van Schalkwyk later praised the Sharks for the quality of their rugby.

“All credit to them. They played at a much higher level than us and their execution was much better. It all showed in the scoreline.”

It was a superb all-round effort by the Sharks, but the forwards, in their control at the breakdown and with Jean Deysel and Botes always prominent, laid an ideal wet-weather platform for halves Charl McLeod and Michalak to dictate the flow of the game.

And from there it was all slip-sliding away.

Scorers:

Sharks — tries by Waylon Murray (2), Brad Barritt, Jacques Botes, Keegan Daniel and Chris Jordaan. Frederic Michalak kicked three conversions and a penalty while Rory Kockott kicked a conversion.

Boland — try by Alvin Hugo and conversion by Justin Peeach.

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