At last, Sharks remember how to win

2015-03-15 06:00

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Entertainment was not on the agenda for the Sharks on their trip to Bloemfontein yesterday for their Super Rugby match against the Cheetahs.

In the end, Bismarck du Plessis’ men could put a “mission accomplished” stamp on the excursion. The win helped the Sharks climb five places to 6th on the log and resurrected a season that was starting to go sour.

Having won just one of their first four games, there was an element of grim determination about the Sharks in the first half as they surged to a sizeable lead.

Frans Steyn burst through three tackles to score his side’s first try under the crossbar. Next, the forwards landed a quick one-two as they drove Marcell Coetzee over for a brace of tries in the 28th and 32nd minutes.

With Patrick Lambie kicking two conversions and a penalty, the Sharks led 22-3 at the break and had done the groundwork to also get a bonus point from their trip to the Free State.

But it took another 39 minutes to get that fourth try, when substitute Jack Wilson crossed in the corner.

Just before the final whistle, Francois Venter got a consolation try for an outclassed Cheetahs side.

The win came at a price for the Sharks, though, as lock Pieter-Steph du Toit was carted off the field after he suffered from what appeared to be a serious injury to the knee that kept him off the field for the whole of last season.

The next assignment for the Sharks is the Chiefs – who beat the Stormers yesterday – at King’s Park on Saturday night, while the Cheetahs have embarked on their long journey to New Zealand for their first tour match against the Crusaders in Christchurch.

.?Earlier at Newlands, the Chiefs stripped the Stormers of their unbeaten record by scoring three tries to one towin 28-19 against what initially seemed insurmountable odds.

The Stormers scrum was utterly dominant, but they couldn’t translate this advantage into a winning effort against the slick-handling Chiefs.

.?In Christchurch, the Lions’ strength of last season, their scrum, became an Achilles heel as they slumped to a 34-6 defeat against the Crusaders.

The Crusaders seemed set on taking the tourists at the set piece and with All Black loosehead prop Wyatt Crockett leading the charge, they demolished and demoralised Warren Whiteley’s men.

The Lions, with Whiteley, Warwick Tecklenburg, Jaco Kriel and Elton Jantjies often catching the eye for putting their bodies on the line in defending their line, put up a better show than the lopsided scoreline might suggest, but in the end could not prevent an All Black-laded Crusaders side from getting a bonus point for scoring four tries.

The crucial turning point came in the 50th minute when tighthead Julian Redelinghuys was yellow-carded by referee Nick Briant for repeated infringements, and from then the task became too unequal for the Lions to resist.

Other Round Five results: Hurricanes 30, Blues 23; Force 17, Rebels 21; Highlanders 26, Waratahs 19;

Reds 0, Brumbies 29.

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