Super 14 kicks off with six away wins in seven games

2010-02-15 00:00

THE week’s disruptions were followed by disarray on the field as the Sharks went down 18-19 to the Chiefs in their Super 14 opener at King’s Park on Saturday.

The Stormers, in a start-stop display, gained a win (26-13) over the Lions, while the Bulls, the champions, will be the happiest South African team, having taken five points from their 51-34 win over the Cheetahs on Friday night.

It was a weekend remarkable for the number of away wins, with six visiting teams enjoying victory in seven games. Only the Crusaders won at home, beating the Highlanders 32-17.

The Sharks desperately needed a solid start after their bizarre build-up, but Saturday’s game started and ended badly. Lock Johann Muller was felled at the kick-off and just as he returned, his replacement, Gerhard Mostert, went down with a serious shoulder injury. Muller also later departed and number eight Willem Alberts had to slot in at lock.

John Smit was yellow-carded in the first half for persistent transgressions at the breakdown and Bismarck du Plessis for the critical last seven minutes of the game for his bully-boy tactics.

The result was the Sharks were unable to gain momentum and create attacking openings. While the Chiefs played most of the rugby, the Sharks were kept in the game by wing JP Pietersen, saving two certain tries with excellent cover tackles, and the unerring boot of Rory Kockott, succeeding with all six penalty attempts.

The Sharks were ahead 15-9 with three minutes remaining when centre Jackson Willison scored and flyhalf Stephen Donald goaled, in spite of crowd interference, for the Chiefs to lead 16-15. Ryan Kankowski was obstructed by centre Richard Kahui at the re-start and Kockott goaled the penalty (16-18) with a minute remaining. The Sharks caught the kick-off and tried to retain possession for the remaining minute. But Chiefs flank Liam Messam’s hands in the ruck, ignored by the referee, spoilt the Sharks’ possession, Kockott knocked on and Andries Strauss was off-side when he picked up the ball as the hooter sounded. Donald landed the penalty and grim memories of the 2007 Super 14 final returned as the Sharks lost 19-18.

Scorers

Sharks – penalties: Rory Kockott (6).

Chiefs – try: Jackson Willison. Conversion: Stephen Donald. Penalties: Donald (4)

In Johannesburg, the Stormers defeated the Lions 26-13 at Ellis Park on Saturday as fullback Joe Pietersen scored 21 points. The Stormers prop Wikus Blaauw left the field with a shoulder injury.

Saturday’s scorers

Lions – Try: Michael Killian; Conversion: Earl Rose; Penalties: Rose (2). Stormers – Tries: Joe Pietersen, Jaque Fourie; Conversions: Pietersen (2); Penalties: Joe Pietersen (4).

Reds 28 Waratahs 30

Reds –Tries: Daniel Braid, James Horwill, Penalty try; Conversions: Quade Cooper (2); Penalties: Cooper (2); Drop goal: Cooper. Waratahs – Tries: Rory Sidey, Wycliff Palu; Conversion: Daniel Halangahu; Penalties: Berrick Barnes (4), Halangahu; Drop goal: Barnes

Crusaders 32 Highlanders 17

Crusaders – Tries: Andy Ellis, Jared Payne, Zac Guildford, Sean Maitland; Conversion: Daniel Carter (3); Penalties: Carter (2). Highlanders – Tries: Michael Hobbs (2); Conversion: Hobbs (2); Penalty: Hobbs.

Friday’s games:

Blues 20 Hurricanes 34

Western Force 15 Brumbies 24

Cheetahs 34 Bulls 51.

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