Sharks firmly on top

2014-03-10 00:00

THE Sharks surged back to the top of the Super Rugby table with a bonus point win over the Lions at King’s Park Stadium on Saturday.

Jake White’s men managed to secure the bonus point with a try in the last minute of the game to win 37-23 and put themselves firmly on top of the Super Rugby table after three games.

It was a game of contrasting halves with the Sharks quickest out of the blocks when Paul Jordaan scored his second try of the season after good work out wide by Lwazi Mvovo. Jordaan’s try was converted by the Sharks’ back-up flyhalf Frans Steyn who was deputising for Pat Lambie who was forced to sit out the game due to illness. The big Steyn was having an inspired day as he could do no wrong as he finished the game with a 100% kicking record (four conversions and three penalties).

The Lions were able to keep in touch with the Sharks thanks to the boot of Marnitz Boshoff, who also finished the game with a 100% kicking record.

With the game looking tight, and the score sitting at 16-9 to the Sharks after a number of penalties from both sides, Cobus Reinach, the home side’s scrumhalf, capitalised on the Lions’ slack work at the lineout and darted towards the line to open up the gap.

Going into half time, the Sharks led 23-9, a cushion of 14 points.

The second half started much in the same vein with the Sharks going over for their third try in the 49th minute. Elton Jantjies, the Lions’ returning flyhalf, will have wanted the ground to swallow him after his chip attempt was charged down by Marcel Coetzee who was having an impressive game. Coetzee collected the loose ball and passed it outside to Odwa Ndungane who was never going to be caught by the chasing Faf de Klerk.

Try time, and the Sharks looked comfortable 30-9 ahead.

But, the Lions started showing the fight they have been known for this season as they looked to get themselves back into the game.

They managed to score two tries through scrumhalf de Klerk and outside centre Deon van Rensburg to close the gap to just seven points and put themselves in a position where they could salvage a draw.

But they were unable to get that third try, and with 14 men on the field after a yellow card to Corne Fourie, Coetzee managed to dot down in the death to secure the bonus point for the home side.

In Pretoria, the Bulls won their second consecutive game when they secured a bonus point win over the Blues from New Zealand.

Jacques-Louis Potgieter opened the scoring for the men from the capital as he danced his way through the Blues backline as if he were a New Zealander.

Blues number 10 Simon Hickey pulled the scores closer with a penalty, but Potgieter, who scored 30 points in their win over the Lions last week slotted a drop goal to maintain the status quo.

The Bulls managed to score another two tries through Jono Ross and Jan Serfontein as they went into the break leading 25-12.

The Blues pulled one back when Pita Ahki dotted the ball after a brilliant grubber through by Hickey. But, the men from Auckland would not see the Bulls line for the rest of the game.

Marcel van der Merwe went over for the Bulls’ fourth try late as they bagged the full complement of points.

Down under, the Stormers completely missed the boat as they went down 14-13 to a Crusaders side that was ripe for the picking.

The last time the seven-time champions were beaten at home by a South African side was way back in 2001, and the Stormers, who have been struggling this season, would have backed themselves to win the game.

The Stormers’ old men in skipper Jean de Villiers and Schalk Burger combined to set up Damian de Allende to make it 13-3.

Debutant Keiron Fonotia got one over for the home side to close the gap to just two points, and with six minutes to play, Michael Rhodes gave away a penalty and Ton Taylor was on hand to break Cape hearts and secure a one-point win.


Sharks vs Lions

Sharks: Tries - Paul Jordaan, Cobus Reinach, Odwa Ndungane, Marcell Coetzee

Conversions - Frans Steyn (4)

Penalties - Steyn (3)

Lions: Tries - Francois de Klerk, Deon van Rensburg

Conversions - Marnitz Boshoff (2)

Penalties - Boshoff (3).

Bulls vs Blues

Bulls: Tries - Jacques-Louis Potgieter, Jono Ross, Jan Serfontein, Marcel van der Merwe

Conversions - Potgieter (2), Handre Pollard

Penalties - Potgieter (3)

Drop goal - Potgieter

Blues: Try - Pita Ahki

Conversion - Simon Hickey

Penalties - Hickey (5)

Crusaders vs Stormers

Crusaders: Try - Kieron Fonotia

Penalties - Tom Taylor (3)

Stormers: Try - Damian de Allende

Conversion - Demetri Catrakilis

Penalties - Catrakilis (2)


Brumbies 29 Hurricanes 21

Reds 43 Cheetahs 33

Crusaders 14 Stormers 13

Force 32 Rebels 7

Bulls 38 Blues 22

Sharks 37 Lions 23.

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