Sharks outgun Reds

2014-03-15 23:00

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The Sharks managed to shrug off the disruption of a spate of injuries and bereavement to beat the Reds 35-20 in their Super Rugby match played at Kings Park in Durban yesterday evening.

In the build-up to the match, the Sharks lost Paul Jordaan, Pieter-Steph du Toit and Jean Deysel to injury.

They also had to grant Odwa Ndungane compassionate leave after the death of he and his twin brother Akona’s father, Zingisa, last Monday and coach Jake White was forced to make replacements he would have preferred not to.

But with a combination of excellent goal-kicking by Patrick Lambie and Frans Steyn, sound set-piece play and hard-nosed defence, the Sharks managed to see off the Queenslanders and maintain their 100% record and position at the top of the log.

A winning margin of 15 points might seem convincing but in truth, the score flattered the home side.

As well as they played in the set phases, the Sharks struggled to construct expansive tries.

A pragmatist like White will doubtlessly remind them that the Reds messed up two clear chances to score tries and failed to take advantage of other promising situations.

But with Lambie goalling all seven of his place-kicks for a contribution of 19 points and Steyn banging over two penalties from long range, the Sharks always had a buffer of points to defy a Reds team whose discipline too often let them down.

White will also be concerned that when the Reds did bring some accuracy to bear, both their tries were scored with ease while their own brace, by Willem Alberts and Dale Chadwick, were in pushover situations.

As the team setting the pace, the challenge will get harder especially when they leave the familiar, muggy conditions of their home ground.

The Sharks’ next game is against the Bulls at Loftus on Saturday night.

.?In Hamilton on Friday, the Stormers were outgunned 36-20 by the champions, Chiefs.

Earlier yesterday in Wellington, the Cheetahs tried to match the Hurricanes’ quick, passing game but could not maintain the pace and fell away to a 60-27 defeat.

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