Sharks still in good position to bounce back after hard loss to Province

2009-08-31 00:00

THE Sharks, the Currie Cup champions, are still strongly in contention for a home semi-final in spite of their feeble showing and 21-9 defeat by Western Province at King’s Park on Saturday.

Western Province have taken over at the top of the log (thanks to the Lions, who upset the Blue Bulls 20-13 at Ellis Park), but the Sharks are still in second place and are just a point off the pace.

John Plumtree’s team travel to Wellington on Friday, while Province host the Blue Bulls at Newlands on Saturday.

Plumtree said the Sharks, who went walkabout in front of 23 000 home supporters on Saturday, will now have to repeat their first-round heroics, which saw them respond to defeat with six successive wins. The good news is that they will have their Boks back for the last four games.

The Sharks were in strong contention early in the second half on Saturday when they led 9-8. But, in truth, Province were full value for their win, scoring two excellent tries without reply and having a third — by wing Tonderai Chavhanga — disallowed. The untidy, error-ridden Sharks, in contrast, were shut out by the organised Province defence and they seldom threatened on attack.

Lock Chris Jack and Chavhanga scored tries for Province, while the Sharks’ points came from kicks by scrumhalf Rory Kockott with two penalties and Argentinean flyhalf Juan Martin Hernandez (drop).

The spirited Lions broke a series of losses to the stronger teams when they downed the Blue Bulls 20-13 in Johannesburg. The Bulls, like the Sharks in Durban, failed to find any continuity and were well beaten.

Griquas, the early pacesetter in the Currie Cup, are now in danger of not reaching the semi-finals as they lost their third successive game. Jongi Nokwe scored a hat-trick of tries to take Free State to a thumping 58-13 win in Kimberley and reverse their first-round loss in Bloemfontein.

Weekend scores and scorers

Sharks 9 Western Province 21

Scorers: The Sharks — Penalties: Rory Kockott (2); Drop goal: Juan Hernandez. Western Province: - Tries: Tonderai Chavhanga, Chris Jack; Conversion: Joe Pietersen; Penalties: Pietersen (2); Drop Goal: Pietersen.

Lions 20 Blue Bulls 13

Scorers: Lions — Tries: Alwyn Hollenbach, Jano Vermaak; Conversions: Herkie Kruger (2); Penalties: Kruger (2). Blue Bulls — Try: Jaco Pretorius; Conversion: Burton Francis; Penalties: Francis, Francois Brummer.

Free State 58 Griquas 13

Scorers: Griquas — Tries: Bjorn Basson, Rohan Kitshoff; Penalty: Riaan Viljoen. Free State - Tries: Jongi Nokwe (3), WP Nel, Nico Breedt, Frans Viljoen (2); Conversions: Jacques-Louis Potgieter (6), Louis Strydom; Penalties: Potgieter (3).

Friday night: Leopards 50 Boland Cavaliers 16

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