New life for Sharks

2014-09-22 00:00

RESURRECTION is the word that comes to mind after the Sharks did the unthinkable and beat the Bulls at ­Loftus on Saturday evening.

The 26-15 win has breathed new life into the Sharks’ Currie Cup title bid and moved them into third place on the overall log with three games left to play in the pool matches. The loss was a death knell for the Bulls’ season as they stay in sixth place.

The score line may have been a bit flattering to the Sharks but the win was well deserved seeing how the Bulls performed in some departments. Their lineout in particular was poor and credit must be given to the likes of Marco Wentzel who showed why experience matters in big clashes.

On a night where the Sharks hardly put a foot wrong, their scrum was their biggest concern as the Bulls pack shunted them for the better part of an hour. Once they settled that down, they gained ascendancy and closed the game out.

Lionel Cronje at flyhalf was decisive as he put in a great performance and even wore a smile here and there while most would grimace at the thought of playing the Bulls in Pretoria.

Despite two missed penalties, Cronje booted a superb cross kick to put S’bura Sithole in for a try and he fronted up well on defence and kicked for territory with accuracy. He could well be the Sharks’ go-to man for the rest of the Currie Cup.

On his shoulder, young Andre Esterhuizen made his presence felt, especially on defence.

Mention must also be made of Lwazi Mvovo who scored from a well timed intercept. Having not had much game time with the Springboks, an outing with his provincial team-mates will have done wonders for his confidence.

Considering their woes in the scrum, the Sharks pack played well in every other department. Their lineout dominance coupled with their work in the tight loose and on defence made life difficult for the Bulls, even when the hosts were on the front foot. It is a big positive for the Sharks coming out of a disappointing three weeks.

There is no doubt that Sharks coach Brad Macleod-Henderson will be happy with the improvement in accuracy from his charges. It was a particular concern in the build up to the match and the men from Durban made no mistake in keeping their eyes and hands on the ball when it mattered.

Home advantage will be a welcome relief this weekend and most pundits will give the Sharks an easy five points as they host EP Kings, who sit bottom of the log having lost every game this season.

Expect the Sharks to start settling with a familiar line-up from here on out as the competition nears its end.

Scorers: Blue Bulls 15 (12): Penalties: Jacques-Louis Potgieter (5).

Sharks 25 (13): Lwazi Mvovo, S’bura Sithole. Conversions: Lionel Cronje (2). Penalties: Cronje (2), SP Marais (2).

Weekend results: WP 36 - 12 Griquas, Kings 22 - 37 Cheetahs, Bulls 15 - 26 Sharks, Lions 29 - 15 Pumas.

P W D L PD Pts

WP 7 6 0 1 116 29

Lions 7 5 0 2 83 25

Sharks 7 4 1 2 25 20

Pumas 7 4 0 3 14 19

FS 7 3 1 3 8 19

Bulls 7 3 0 4 -38 14

Griquas 7 2 0 5 -60 11

Kings 7 0 0 7 -148 1

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