Sharks find bite once again

2010-03-29 00:00

WHILE the Bulls marched on relentlessly in Perth, the Sharks’ scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar calmly booted a massive 50 m penalty, after the game’s final hooter had sounded, to give his side a much-needed 29-26 Super 14 victory over the Hurricanes in Wellington on Saturday.

It was the Sharks second win in the competition and the fourth South African franchise to defeat the Hurricanes in consecutive weekends.

The Bulls, the only unbeaten team in the Super 14 competition, continued to set the pace with their 25-15 victory over the Force, who led 12-10 at the break.

The Stormers, who had a bye, remain second.

James O’ Connor kicked four penalties in the first half for the Force’s lead, but Bulls captain Victor Matfield said his team had adapted to the referee in the second half, and swept clear for the win.

Morné Steyn kicked a penalty and converted Pierre Spies’s first-half try. Steyn and Zane Kirchner scored second-half tries, and Steyn kicked two further penalties.

He converted his own try, providing the Bulls with a perfect start to their four-match tour.

The Sharks’ rookie, 19-year old Patrick Lambie, and JP Pietersen scored tries for their team in Wellington, but Ma’a Nonu and Victor Vito replied for the Hurricanes in the last 15 minutes — and the scores were tied at 26-26 with just three minutes remaining before fulltime.

Hurricanes replacement flyhalf Aaron Crudens, who had regularly cut the Sharks’ defences in a busy second half, was penalised for not releasing the ball to Bismarck du Plessis after he was tackled.

Pienaar, who had missed his first penalty but then kicked sublimely to score 19 points, then slotted his fifth penalty for the Sharks’ victory on the final hooter.

The Sharks, who showed their strength in both the scrums and the lineouts, had dominated the first half, and Lambie had crossed for an early try when Pienaar cleverly worked the blindside.

Pienaar added two further penalties, the second after the halftime hooter had sounded, to give the Sharks a 13-6 lead at the break.

Pienaar slotted his third penalty before wing Pietersen finished off a superb, quick-passing movement, which swept 60 m upfield — and left the team’s supporters wondering why it had taken seven games for the Sharks to finally discover their scoring magic.

In the third game played on Saturday, the Waratahs clinched their third lucky win of the season, when an intercept by wing Lachie Turner and a 95 m run produced a 14-point swing with only minutes remaining in the closely contested game.

The Blues, with a two-man overlap and on the Waratahs line, were about to score when Turner intercepted to turn the game on its head.


Saturday’s scores and scorers (home team first) Hurricanes 26 Sharks 29 Scorers: Hurricanes – Tries: Ma’a Nonu, Victor Vito; Conversions: Piri Weepu (2); Penalties: Willie Ripia (2), Weepu (2). Sharks – Tries: Patrick Lambie, JP Pietersen; Conversions: Ruan Pienaar (2); Penalties: Pienaar (5). Waratahs 39 Blues 32 Scorers:Waratahs – Tries: Daniel Halangahu (2), Dean Mumm, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Lachie Turner; Conversions: Halangahu (4); Penalties: Halangahu (2). Blues — Tries: Rene Ranger (2), Rudi Wulf, Isaia Toeava; Conversions: Stephen Brett (3); Penalties: Brett (2). Force 15 Bulls 28 Scorers: Force — Penalties: James O`Connor (5). Bulls – Tries: Pierre Spies, Morné Steyn, Zane Kirchner; Conversions: Steyn (2); Penalties: Steyn (3).

Played on Friday: Highlanders 39 Lions 29, Brumbies 30 Chiefs 23, Cheetahs 10 Reds 31 This weekend’s fixtures (SA times): Friday: At Wellington: Hurricanes v Crusaders, 8.35 amAt Perth: Western Force v Stormers, 12.05 pm Saturday: At Auckland: Blues v Bulls 6.30 amAt Mount Maunganui: Chiefs v Highlanders 8.35 amAt Sydney: Waratahs v Cheetahs 10.40 amAt Durban: Sharks v Reds 5.05 pm


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