Sharks top of the log

2014-02-24 00:00

THE Sharks made it two from two when they comfortably beat the Hurricanes in Saturday’s Super Rugby encounter at King’s Park in Durban.

The final score of 27-9 flattered Jake White’s men who — playing in front of over 23 000 fans at the Shark tank — were unable to convert their first half dominance into points and went in at the break leading 10-6.

From that display, the Hurricanes will have to dig very deep to improve on last year’s campaign where they finished off the pace in the New Zealand conference. And, they looked nothing like contenders for the title after Julian Savea and Cory Jane had told The Witness last week that their target was going the whole way.

The Sharks will be pleased with the fact that they managed to keep the Hurricanes from crossing their try line. But then again, the Wellington side’s famed outside backs were toothless on the night and only once looked like troubling the Sharks defence.

Sharks flyhalf Pat Lambie was the first to get on the scoreboard, knocking a penalty over in the fifth minute after Hurricanes flanker Jack Lam was blown for diving into the ruck.

After periods of play in which the Sharks let Mark Hammett’s Hurricanes off the hook a number of times, they were eventually rewarded when after good work up front, flank Willem Alberts crashed over the line for the game’s first try in the 19th minute. Lambie, who finished the game with a haul of 17 points, slotted the resulting conversion from a difficult angle to make it 10-0 to the home side.

All Black number 10 Beauden Barrett and Super Rugby debutant Marty Banks slotted a penalty each before the half to close the gap to 10-6.

After Lambie and Barrett slotted penalties to take the game to 16-9 in the second half, the Sharks managed to pull away when winger Lwazi Mvovo — man of the match — intercepted a Banks pass to sprint to the try line for the Sharks’ second try of the game.

With time running out, and Bismarck du Plessis’s boys leading by 21-9, Lambie stepped up again and put over two penalties, which saw the Sharks overcome the Canes 27-9 to remain at the top of the South African conference, and the overall log.

In Johannesburg, the Lions upset the applecart when they unexpectedly thumped the Springbok-littered Stormers by 24 points, winning 34-10.

Flyhalf Marnitz Boshoff, who scored all the Lions’ points last week as they upset the Cheetahs 21-20, is becoming the “Liefling” of Ellis Park, and on Saturday, he continued on his rich vein of form, contributing 29 points in the win.

The Stormers faithful packed into bars in Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs would have been stunned into silence in just the second minute of the game when Lions eighthman and skipper Warren Whiteley broke through the Cape side’s defence to send Stefan Watermeyer away for a try that was converted by Boshoff.

It was the “Boshoff show” with the Griquas flyhalf also kicking over six penalties and three drop goals, as he played like a player who was high in confidence.

A try by Stormers hooker Scarra Ntubeni after good work up front by the forwards closed the gap early on in the first half. But, Boshoff stepped up again and seemed to score for fun, taking the score to 34-10 to the Lions.

Boshoff is currently Super Rugby’s leading points scorer with 50, and quite a way ahead of Lambie who has 33 points.

With the Sharks not playing this coming weekend, the Lions have an opportunity to go three from three, and to the top of the Super Rugby log when they head to Loftus to face a Bulls side who have lost two from two.

In other Super Rugby action over the weekend, the Highlanders beat the Blues 29-21, the Reds beat last year’s finalists 27-17, while in yesterday’s game, the Waratahs picked up the maximum five points as they overcame the Force by 43-21.

Scorers

Sharks: Tries: Willem Alberts, Lwazi Mvovo

Conversion: Pat Lambie

Penalties: Lambie (5)

Hurricanes: Penalties: Beauden Barrett (2), Marty Banks

Lions: Try: Stefan Watermeyer

Conversion: Marnitz Boshoff

Penalties: Boshoff (6)

Drop goals: Boshoff (3).

Stormers: Try: Scarra Ntubeni

Conversion: Demetri Catrakilis

Penalty: Catrakilis.

Results

Friday: Cheetahs 15, Bulls 9

Crusaders 10, Chiefs 18

Saturday: Lions 34, Stormers 10

Sharks 27, Hurricanes 9

Brumbies 17, Reds 27

Highlanders 29, Blues 21

Yesterday: Warratahs 43, Force 21.

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