WP ahead of Sharks after dour win over Bulls

2010-08-16 00:00

THE Sharks will host unbeaten Western Province in a eagerly anticipated, top-of-the-log Currie Cup clash at King’s Park on Saturday night.

The travelling Sharks’ 51-6 thumping of the Leopards on Friday night provided them with the lead at the top of the log, but it lasted less than 24 hours before WP overtook them again with a tough, tense and occasionally dour 15-12 win over the Blue Bulls at Newlands.

With the Sharks picking up five points at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Phokeng, and Province four at Newlands, only one point now separates the two teams on the standings.

The Sharks will have taken some heart from the Newlands game, which failed to produce a try. Province, again, defended superbly in this contest of two halves, but they lost their way tactically after the break, kicked away possession and lacked their usual edge on attack.

The Bulls also defended superbly, somehow holding out against Province, who dominated territory and possession in the first half. The title-holders, keeping the ball for long periods, had the better of exchanges in the second half, but could not break down the resilient WP defence.

The Bulls had their chances in the second half, but poor discipline cost them several attacking chances and they were finally edged out by a lone penalty goal.

Western Province coach Allister Coetzee said he was highly satisfied that his team had hung on for the win.

“I’m very happy with four match points,” said Coetzee. “In the past we often lost these close games, but thankfully it was not the case this time and that’s why I am so satisfied. This match was as tough as it gets.

“It’s even more pleasing that we are still unbeaten at this stage of the competition.”

There was a grandstand finish at Ellis Park where John Mitchell’s Lions gained a rare victory, scoring two tries in the final five minutes to beat Free State 30-26. The young Lions, without a win in the Super 14, had only previously beaten the Leopards in the Currie Cup this year.

Former Maritzburg College centre Jannie Boshoff, on as a replacement and chasing a kick deep into Free State territory in the 77th minute, caught the fortunate bounce and scored the winning try.

The 19-year-old Lions flyhalf, Elton Jantjies, was the star of the show, scoring a late try and earlier fashioning one for wing Deon van Rensburg with a banana kick hooked back over the flat-lining Cheetahs’ defence. It brought a nod of approval from former All Blacks flyhalf Carlos Spencer, now a player/coach with the Lions, who has made liberal use of the unorthodox kick during his career.

The Lions had looked a beaten team late in the second half after they had leaked 13 points and lost loose forward Renaldo Bothma to a yellow card, and were two scores behind (26-16) with just five minutes remaining. But first Jantjies and then Boshoff scored — and Jantjies kicked both the touchline conversions — for a 30-26 win.

Saturday’s scorers:

Lions (30) – tries: Deon van Rensburg, Elton Jantjies, Jannie Boshoff. Conversions: Jantjies (3). Penalties: Jantjies (3). Cheetahs (26) – tries: Ashley Johnson, Cobus Kaldo. Conversions: Louis Strydom (1), Meyer Bosman (1). Penalties: Strydom (4).

Western Province (15) - Penalties: Willem de Waal (5). Blue Bulls (12) - Jacques-Louis Potgieter (4).

Saturday’s results (home team first):

Lions 30 Free State 26

WP 15 Blue Bulls 12

Played Friday:

Griquas 58 Pumas 25

Leopards 6 Sharks 51

This weekend’s fixtures:

Friday

At Loftus: Bulls v Griquas 1900

At Free State Stadium: Cheetahs v Leopards 1900

At Witbank: Pumas v Lions 1910

Saturday

At King’s Park: Sharks v Province 1910

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