Sharks ‘happy with bonus point’ after being outplayed in every area by WP

2013-09-09 00:00

THE Sharks, outplayed in every area and beaten 25-19 by Western Province, somehow salvaged a bonus point from the wreckage of a disastrous Currie Cup trip to Newlands on Saturday night.

And that, says coach Brad Maclleod-Henderson, was the only positive to emerge from a “disappointing game”.

“Our set piece didn’t function and our breakdowns were poor, and that put us under enormous pressure,” he said yesterday.

“We are very happy with the bonus point after it looked like we would get nothing out of the game. But generally the performance wasn’t what we wanted and we were poor in the first half.”

He said that Province had pressured the Sharks at the scrums, lineouts and kick-offs.

“That placed us on the back foot while their ball-carriers were getting quick ball. It all started at set pieces and we found it very difficult to get right from there.”

Unbeaten Province (16 points) now take a one-point log lead over the Sharks (15) at the end of the first round of competition. Only six points separate the top five sides following the Golden Lions’ narrow 38-32 win over Griquas and the Blue Bulls’ satisfying 26-10 victory over the Free State Cheetahs at Loftus.

The Sharks did very little right on the night apart from the their persistence in the final quarter when they scored all three of their tries — by Lwazi Mvovo, Jacques Botes and Kyle Cooper — to share the try tally at 3-3 and earn a bonus point.

For the rest, it was a shaky night of errors and missed tackles and, had it not been for a string of Province handling errors, often in strong attacking positions, they would have been buried without trace and the hosts would have had a bonus point for tries.

Critically, the Sharks’ set piece, which had been solid in recent weeks, went missing and they were unable to create any platform. Their scrum was bullied by the WP and their lineout suffered, particularly after their most effective jumper, former Bok Marco Wentzel went off with a dislocated shoulder, which will sideline him for weeks.

What was surprising was that the Sharks, unlike the Springboks in Brisbane hours before, were unable to close down the opposition’s back three. Certainly, Gio Aplon, Gerhard van den Heever and Cheslin Kolbe enjoyed their evening and the hungrier, sharper Province outfit deserved their win over a disjointed Sharks team lacking organisation and cohesion.

The young Blue Bulls, helped by a strong display from their forwards and the kicking of teenage flyhalf Handré Pollard (16 points) gained a satisfying 26-10 win over the strong Cheetahs line-up in Pretoria.

The Golden Lions picked up their second win of the competition in Kimberley, but were severely tested in the final five minutes when the lively Griquas camped under their posts and cam e close to scoring a potential winning try on half-a-dozen occasions.

But, by scoring six tries to four, the Lions will feel justice was served.


WP 25: Tries: Juan de Jongh, Cheslin Kolbe, Gio Aplon. Penalties: Kurt Coleman (2). Conversions, Coleman, Gary van Aswegen. Sharks 19: Tries: Lwazi Mvovo, Jacques Botes, Kyle Cooper. Conversion: Fred Zeilinga (2).

Golden Lions 38: Tries: Robbie Coetzee, Anthony Volmink, Andries Coetzee, Franco van der Merwe, Marnitz Boshoff, Jaco Kriel. Conversions: Boshoff, Elton Jantjies (3). Griquas 32: Tries: Jean Stemmet, PJ Vermeulen, Carel Greeff, Howard Mnisi. Conversions: Francois Brummer (3). Penalties: Brummer (2).

Blue Bulls 26: Tries: Paul Willemse, Wiaan Liebenberg. Conversions: Handré Pollard (2). Penalties: Pollard (4). Free State Cheetahs 10: Tries: Riaan Smit, Elgar Watts.

This weekend’s fixtures (home team first):

Friday: Free State vs Golden Lions, 7.10 pm.

Saturday: Griquas vs Sharks, 3.00 pm; Blue Bulls vs WP 5.05 pm.



WP 5 3 2 0 115 107 8 0 16

Sharks 5 3 0 2 134 115 19 3 15

Lions 5 2 1 2 185 149 36 4 14

FS 5 2 0 3 109 108 1 4 12

Bulls 5 2 1 2 106 139 -33 0 10

Griquas 5 1 0 4 112 143 -31 4 8

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