Sharks just make second on log

2011-10-03 00:00

COACH John Plumtree was remarkably philosophical about both the Sharks’ damaging 15-10 Currie Cup defeat at King’s Park on Saturday evening and the dubious match-winning try scored by Western Province scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenhage in the 78th minute.

The Sharks battled valiantly for 80 minutes, but again lacked accuracy and control before being cruelly punished in the closing moments as Duvenhage’s try — after Sharks’ replacement flyhalf Frederic Michalak had a chip kick charged down just outside his quarter — settled the bruising contest.

The Sharks’ bonus point keeps them in second place — just — on the log. The log-leading Lions scored two tries in the closing minutes to fight back to draw 25-25 with the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.

The Lions (45 points) are now well placed to top the log and host a potential final, but the Sharks (38), Cheetahs (37), Western Province (36) and Bulls (33) are battling over the remaining three semi-final berths and also second spot (for the right to host the other semi-final).

“To lose with two minutes to go is frustrating,” Plumtree said.

“But to be honest, I’ve been more disappointed with the players after some of the close wins than I am with this one which we lost.

“In this game we were committed and the intensity was there, and I’ve told the players that we must hold on to that positive as we look ahead.

“There were two willing, physical teams out there and the difference in the end was a charged-down kick by Freddie [Michalak].”

The try scored by Duvenhage was awarded by TMO Gerrrie Coetzee after just one brief viewing, and Plumtree said he was not convinced that the Province scrumhalf had control of the ball as he went over the line under the tackle of Marius Joubert.

Certainly the Province players, hanging about for the decision, were also not confident the try would be awarded, but, as Plumtree said, “that’s rugby and you have to accept the cruel decisions.”

In truth this young Province side deserved their moment of triumph.

This Province outfit has obvious limitations, but their outside backs showed enterprise, they defended bravely, they won the cleaner and quicker ruck ball and, as coach Alistair Coetzee said, “we made fewer mistakes than the Sharks”.

Plumtree did indeed make the changes to his line-up he predicted last week (five in all), but kept them secret all week.

Meyer Bosman started at flyhalf, Adi Jacobs at outside centre, Marius Joubert at 12, while at forward Marcell Coetzee was selected on the flank and Jean Deysel at lock.

“Michalak has not been in the best form and I wanted to see Meyer at flyhalf,” said Plumtree.

“I also wanted to make space for Marcell to give the forwards a more physical edge.

“That was the plan, and up to a point I think it worked.”

The Sharks started brightly enough, controlled possession and Deysel scored after 10 minutes.

But that, really, was as good as it got as the old mistakes returned, wild passes were thrown, lineouts were lost (six in all) and the Sharks were simply unable to produce any continuity or establish any territorial advantage.

Deysel time and again took on the Province defence, hardworking lock Ross Skeate was constantly involved and Jacobs did bring some attacking spark to the midfield.

But with too many mistakes punctuating the play, the Sharks were never able to maintain any momentum.

It was another evening of moan and groan from the 17 000 home crowd as time and opportunities frustratingly slipped away.

This allowed Duvenhage to level the scores (10-10) with a late penalty — the ball hit the cross-bar and skipped over — and then win the game with his try to end the Sharks’ evening on the most painful note.

The Lions fought back from the dead to gain a valuable draw in Bloem with two tries in the final five minutes.

The Free Staters were 25-11 ahead when their replacement scrumhalf Tewis de Bruyn was yellow-carded in the 73rd minute for collapsing a maul.

First, replacement prop Jacobie Adriaanse burrowed over from close range and Conrad Jantjes converted the try and added a second moments later after wing Michael Killian crossed as the Lions ran the ball impressively from deep (25-25).

Griquas shook off a lethargic first half to score five tries after the break and run out 38-23 (halftime 3-10) winners over the Leopards in Potchefstroom on Saturday.

Saturday’s scores and scorers:

Sharks 10 - Try: Jean Deysel. Conversion: Meyer Bosman. Penalty: Freddie Michalak. Western Province 15 - Tries: Danie Poolman, Dewaldt Duvenhage. Conversion: Lionel Cronje. Penalty: Duvenhage.

Leopards 23 - Tries: Wesley Dunlop, Vainon Willis. Conversions: Dunlop, Clayton Durand. Penalties: Dunlop (2). Drop goal: Dunlop. Griquas 38 - Tries: Sarel Pretorius, Rocco Jansen, Riaan Viljoen, Jonathan Mokuena, Jaco Nepgen. Conversions: Rudi Vogt (3), Monty Dumond (2). Penalty: Vogt.

Cheetahs 25 - Try: Piet van Zyl. Conversion: Sias Ebersohn. Penalties: Johan Goosen (5), Ebersohn. Lions 25 - Tries: Cobus Grobbelaar, Jacobie Adriaanse, Michael Killian. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (2). Penalties: Jantjes (2).

Played Friday night:

Blue Bulls 47 Pumas 12.

This weekend’s fixtures (home team first):


Pumas vs Free State 7 pm.


Griquas vs Bulls 3 pm.

Lions vs WP 5.05 pm.

Leopards vs Sharks 7.10 pm.

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