Sharks back on the winning trail

2008-07-11 00:00

The Sharks will enjoy, at the very least, a brief period at the top of the Absa Currie Cup log after a full haul of five log points, courtesy of a four try to one 28-10 victory over the visiting Falcons at Kings Park in Durban last night.

A small Friday night crowd of 10 000 was treated to some lovely rugby as both sides took advantage of the wonderful conditions to play positive, enthusiastic rugby from start to finish.

There was none of that kick and chase that tends to make the game less exciting from a spectator point of view. Instead, both sides ran everything they could and the sponsors of the Absa Currie Cup would have been proud to have their name associated with this kind of champagne rugby.

Make no mistake, it wasn’t without the inevitable mishaps that come when the ball spends so much time being thrown about, but pressure at the tackle area and on the ground meant that there would be the odd mistake from both sides, but in general, the teams need to be applauded for their efforts.

The tempo of the game never abated and the Sharks kept the visitors on the back foot for much of the first half, allowing them in for a solitary penalty in the first half as they showed a degree of domination throughout that they would probably be a little disappointed was not rewarded by anything more than just the two tries in either half, two by Man of the Match Jacques Botes who also scored the injury-time, bonus point try, and the other by the promising Skholiwe Ndlovu.

Keegan Daniel showed lovely skills to score the third and while the Falcons managed to breach the line in the second half, — and despite pulling to within five points for a brief period — the Sharks never looked in danger of losing. Credit must go to the visitors, though, who never gave up or gave any indication that they would capitulate.

But it was the welcome return to action of Frederic Michalak that provided the spark in the second half that would immediately pay dividends and show what an influential figure he is and how important he could be in the competition.

“It’s great to have Freddy back,” said Sharks captain Johann Muller after the match. “He’s an unbelievable player who brings something special to the side.”

Assistant coach Grant Bashford also paid tribute to the Frenchman, saying, “He made a huge impact and it’s great to see him back on the field. He’s a wonderful player and character, and it was great to see him having fun out there, really enjoying himself.”

Johann Muller paid credit to the Falcons for the way they played, saying, “We knew it would be tough, they’re a good side, they threw the ball around, tested us on defence and all credit to them. We had a lot of opportunities and didn’t take them all, but got the five points and that was the main thing. I think we played much better tonight.”

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