Two Tries in two minutes

2008-06-27 00:00

The Sharks fiddled and faffed for nearly 80 minutes before finding a final flourish to beat the Boland Kavaliers 38-13 in the Currie Cup rugby match at King’s Park last night.

For most of the evening, the Sharks were, in a word, dreadful, but somehow they managed to drag a flattering bonus point from this match with two tries in the closing two minutes of the game.

Certainly a winning margin of 25 points says nothing about the struggle the Sharks had to win the game. Their rugby was sloppy and error-ridden against the spirited Bolanders who, for large periods of the evening, appeared the more organised, cohesive team.

Boland will no doubt be miffed about several of referee JC Fortuin’s calls as two of their players were yellow-carded for persistent infringements at a critical period in the second half, while two of the Sharks tries were questionable.

The Sharks almost scored in the opening minute when scrumhalf Rory Kockott dropped the ball over the Boland line and they probably thought they were in for an easy ride. Instead they struggled to retain possession through most of the 80 minutes as the Boland players, who camped on the off-side line and made their tackles, made the fancied Sharks look decidedly ordinary.

Boland fullback Justin Peach and Kockott traded early penalties, but the Cavaliers created an excellent try when they won an attacking lineout and centre Lionel Cornelius brushed off Waylon Murray in midfield to score (3-10).

Kockott kicked a second penalty (6-10), but the Sharks backs were making little headway and the Sharks had to turn to a lineout drive to fashion a try for flank Jacques Botes shortly before the break (11-10).

The Sharks, seeking the four tries for a bonus point, spurned a couple of easy kicks at goal in the second half, but they could not break down the determined Boland defences. The turning point came midway through the second period when Boland captain Piet van Zyl was yellow-carded and the Sharks started to play the percentages. They also underwent a change at halfback.

Monty Dumond, who has been playing overseas, took over from Andrew Borgen at flyhalf and Charl McLeod replaced scrumhalf Kockott who left the field with an ankle injury.

The Sharks, making no headway on attack, returned to kicking their penalties at goal and Dumond kicked two in minutes to take the home side 17-10 ahead. Cornelius replied with a penalty for Boland, but another lineout drive took Botes over for his second try. Dumond converted and the Sharks were ahead 24-13 with 15 minutes remaining.

The Sharks were still two tries away from a bonus point and, as the clock wound down, Dumond, McLeod and Stefan Terblanche started to find openings and provided a happy ending for a long evening of frustation for the players and the spectators.

First Terblanche and McLeod combined neatly for replacement Riaan Swanepoel to score — with his first touch of the ball — and then, in the final move of the game, the Sharks ran a penalty and kept the ball alive through several phases before Henno Mentz, on the end of a Keegan Daniel pass, which could have been ruled forward, ran in the bonus point try in the corner. Dumond added both conversions and the Sharks, untidy and playing as individuals rather than as a team, had suddenly won 38-13.

Captain Johann Muller said the Sharks “played badly particularly in the first half” and he was disappointed with the overall display. Man-of-the-match Botes agreed and said Boland’s yellow cards in the second half had helped the Sharks gain the ascendancy.

“If we play like this at Loftus next week, we’ll get a hiding from the Blue Bulls,” he added.

Hear, hear.

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