The Sharks came to Newlands, they saw Newlands and the conquered Newlands. Yes that is right they conquered Newlands and book themselves a place in next week’s final against the Chiefs in Hanilton, New Zealand after beating the Stormers 26-19.
Peter Grant might have drawn first blood with a penalty to put the Stormers 3-0 in front, but after a Frederic Michalak penalty to draw even and then a drop goal by him, the Stormers played catch up rugby for the rest of the game. Something that they have not been good at the whole season. The Sharks build on an impressive scrum and won a couple of penalties through it. Although I must say the first one was a questionable decision by Steve Walsh as it looked like Beast Mtiwarira broke his bind first. Walsh did have a good game over all and can’t be faulted for much more.
Louis Ludik scored the first try of the game shortly before the break. It came as Riaan Viljoen hoisted a high one on Joe Pietersen. Ludik chased well and towered over Pietersen to grab the ball from the air and he swiveled out of the tackle and from there he was not stopped as he crossed the line. Michalak converted and the score was 13-3. Grant did pull back 3 points on the brink of halftime but the Stormers needed to start well in the second half.
After the break the Sharks came out and another Michalak penalty saw them stretch the lead. Again Grant pulled it back to a seven point ball game and it looked like the Stormers might be able to pull it off. JP Pietersen however had other ideas and with about 20 minutes left on the clock he went over for the all important try to take the scores out to 23-9. The stormers hit back with a Gio Aplon try and a Grant penalty to make it 23-19 with about 8 minutes left. It started to look like the sharks were feeling the effects of their travels over the last two weeks. Michalak sealed it with his second drop goal and try as they may the Stormers just could get another scoring chance.
The sharks are raking up thing frequent flyer miles as they fly off to Hamilton today. It will be a massive feat should they be able to win the final after all the travelling they have done, but one the Sharks can pull off. The Stormers must be feeling like the lady in the movie “27 Dresses” as this is their 3 semi final in the last 2 years and they haven’t won one yet. Add to that the 2010 final and you have their “Elanor”. Finals or Semi-finals just seems to trip them up.
Well done to the Sharks and good luck with your next game.
DHL Stormers – Try: Gio Aplon. Conversion: Peter Grant. Penalties: Grant (4).
Sharks – Tries: Louis Ludik, JP Pietersen. Conversions: Frederic Michalak (2). Penalties: Michalak (2). Drop goals: Michalak (2).
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