Sharks mix the good with the bad, but come out on top

2010-09-11 00:00

THE Sharks strutted their stuff in the opening quarter, secured their bonus point and then mixed good rugby with bad on their way to a 30-14 Currie Cup win over the Pumas in Witbank last night.

The Sharks were 27-7 ahead after just 20 minutes, but first had to resist a strong Pumas revival before they could dominate.

However, they wasted a host of scoring chances in adding just three more points to their tally in the second half.

The five-point haul has cemented the Sharks’ position at the top of the log, ensuring they will retain an eight-point cushion after nine rounds, but coach John Plumtree will be concerned that more was not made of their second-half advantage when they could add just a lone penalty to their 27-14 half-time lead.

But as captain Stefan Terblanche said after the game, “You cannot complain after taking five log points from a trip to Witbank. It may not have been a pretty or clinical win, but it’s never easy up here and we are happy with the five points.”

The willing Pumas refused to concede, fighting back after a poor start and then denying the Sharks for long periods in the second half.

The Sharks, with their brand of high-tempo rugby, started impressively.

Hooker Craig Burden was heavily involved, making the running for flank Jacques Botes to open the scoring after just two minutes. Burden immediately contributed to the Pumas’ opening score when he lost the ball from the re-start and Pumas flyhalf Elgar Watts scuttled over.

But the Sharks were on the move and wings Lwazi Mvovo and Odwa Ndungane, and then Burden, from an intercept and a 40 m run, secured the bonus point in the opening quarter (27-7).

The Pumas took charge for the rest of the first half as the Sharks committed a string of errors in their own half.

There was finally reward for the home team on half-time when a line-out drive fashioned a try for flank Corne Steenkamp (27-14).

The Sharks were in total control in the second half, camping in the Pumas’ half.

However, against scrambling defence, they failed time and again to finish off strong attacking sorties.

Flyhalf Pat Lambie stretched their lead to 30-14 with a penalty after nine minutes and that completed the scoring for the evening as the resolute Pumas defence kept denying wave after wave of Shark attacks.

The Sharks were strong in the set pieces, winning their own line-outs and pressuring the heavier Pumas scrum, but scrumhalf Charl McLeod often had to battle to clear untidy ball at the rucks.

Mvovo continued to make a strong impact on the wing and flanks Willem Alberts, in creating go-forward ball, and Jacques Botes, with a string of crucial tackles, were also prominent in the win.





Pumas: Tries: Elgar Watts, Corne Steenkamp. Conversions: Watts, Braam Pretorius.

Sharks: Tries: Jacques Botes, Lwazi Mvovo, Odwa Ndungane, Craig Burden. Conversions: Patrick Lambie (2). Penalties: Lambie (2).


Today: Lions v Griquas, Ellis Park, 3 pm – M-Net, SSpt 1.

W Province v Leopards, Newlands, 5 pm – not televised.

Cheetahs v Blue Bulls, Free State Stadium, 5.50 pm – M-Net, M-Net HD, SSpt 1.

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