Sharks take rare win in Bloem after spirited comeback

2010-08-02 00:00

THE Sharks toiled untidily and unproductively for an hour, but then fashioned a dramatic final flourish to secure a rare Currie Cup win over Free State in Bloemfontein at the weekend.

The Sharks, finally finding some momentum and their attacking rhythm in the closing minutes of a tough, physical contest, ran up 19 points — with three tries — in eight minutes to turn a 6-13 deficit into 25-13 win.

They remain in second place on the Currie Cup log, trailing unbeaten Western Province by two points.

The Sharks struggled to establish a strong base in the set pieces for much of the afternoon. Referee Mark Lawrence penalised their scrum and injured lock Alistair Hargreaves was missed in the line-out. Without forward momentum, the backs could make little headway and were easily and often painfully contained by the hard-tackling Free Staters.

It took its toll on the Sharks with first flyhalf Steve Meyer and then replacement Ruan Pienaar, along with fullback Louis Ludik, injured in heavy tackles. With only two backs among the replacements, coach John Plumtree ended the match with flank Keegan Daniel on the wing.

But Plumtree’s beefy forward replacements worked a treat in the final quarter, finally providing the go-forward ball which brought the backs — and game-breaker Ryan Kankowski — into play.

The Free Staters also suffered from injury as their influential captain and flank Juan Smith was forced to leave the field an hour after a clash of heads.

The Sharks conceded a 10-3 half-time lead when they turned their backs after a free kick had been awarded and Free State scrumhalf Tewis de Bruyn scuttled through the forwards to score.

The Free Staters could not translate territory and possession into points and were only ahead 13-6 when the Sharks suddenly found their feet as full-time approached. Centre Pat Lambie’s pass under pressure put Sharks’ replacement prop Eugene van Staden over and it was 13-11 after 72 minutes.

But five minutes later the Sharks were ahead after number eight Kankowski, receiving the ball in his own quarter, combined with wing Lwazi Mvovo down the left. Scrumhalf Charl McLeod provided valuable support, and Lambie plunged over and then converted (18-13).

Mvovo again raced clear a minute later, the ball was quickly recycled and Lambie scored his second try to take the Sharks out of reach (25-13).

The Blue Bulls had to overcome a spirited Lions attack for a 32-18 win at Ellis Park on Saturday.

The Bulls, who battled to contain the lively Lions backs, sparked by teenage flyhalf Elton Jantjies, led16-15 at the break. The try count was shared 2-2, but Jacques-Louis Potgieter punished the Lions’ poor discipline with six penalties to put the match on ice.

SCORERS

Cheetahs 13 Sharks 25

Cheetahs: Tries: Tewis de Bruyn. Conversions: Louis Strydom. Penalties: Strydom (2).

Sharks: Tries: Eugene van Staden, Pat Lambie (2). Conversions: Lambie (2). Penalties: Lambie (2).

Lions 18 Bulls 32

Lions: Tries: Deon van Rensburg, Warren Whiteley. Conversions: Elton Jantjies: Penalties: Jantjies (2)

Blue Bulls: Tries: Gerhard van den Heever, Jacques-Louis Potgieter. Conversions: Potgieter (2). Penalties: Potgieter (6)

Weekend Currie Cup results (home team first):

Lions 18 Blue Bulls (holders) 32

Free State 13 Sharks 25

Played Friday:

Leopards 27 Griqualand West 41

WP 54 Pumas 13

 

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