Sharks still in second place need victory over Lions

2011-10-10 00:00

THE Sharks remained second on the Currie Cup log when they beat the Leopards 41-14 in Phokeng on Saturday night, but the Free Staters could well overtake them this weekend and host the second semi-final.

The Sharks, as they have done all season, mixed patches of good rugby with bad and were flattered by the final scoreline as they scored 14 points (two tries) in the final two minutes. Still, as captain Keegan Daniel said after the game, they “got the job done” and the bonus point win has kept them second to the Lions and one point ahead of the Free Staters.

“I was happier with our showing,” coach John Plumtree said yesterday.

“The lineout was a problem at times, but we have a young hooker learning his trade and we have not got too many tall players.

“But we looked good with ball in hand and we did score six tries.”

The Lions are in an unassailable position at the top of the log after finishing strongly and scoring five tries to beat Western Province 42-25 at Ellis Park.

The Sharks meet the Lions in their final round robin game on Saturday while the Free Staters, with a superior points difference, face Griquas in Bloemfontein.

The Sharks, if they are to host a semi-final, will probably have to beat the Lions, and score four tries for a bonus point, to retain second place ahead of the Cheetahs.

The Lions (50 points), Sharks (43) and Free State (42) have all qualified for the semi-finals while Western Province (36) should pip the Blue Bulls (35) and Griquas (35) for fourth place. Province face the Pumas at Newlands on Saturday and a win will see them take the final play-off spot.

They will then travel back to Ellis Park for the semi-finals while the Sharks and Free State will play in the other semi-final, either in Durban or Bloemfontein.

The Bulls lost their chance of nailing down a semi-final place when Griquas, a real threat at home, beat them 48-44 in a see-sawing match in Kimberley.

The Sharks continued with their now familiar pattern of rugby.

They started brightly and were quickly up 15-0 as lock Ross Skeate continued his excellent form in a dominant pack.

But they grew more ragged as the game progressed with their scrum under some pressure, hooker Kyle Cooper occasionally missing his lineout jumpers and scrumhalf Conrad Hoffman, with little protection, battling to clear the ball.

Indeed, the Leopards edged both territory and possession in the game while the Sharks had to make more of the tackles, and this against the weakest team in the competition.

Fortunately, their defence around the fringes and in midfield forced the Leopards into numerous handling errors and a rush of tries in the final quarter took them well clear.

Daniel had passes intercepted for both Leopards tries, but the Sharks did score a couple of excellent tries of their own.

Centre Adi Jacobs, who combined slickly with Meyer Bosman in midfield for the first try, left the field with a hamstring injury in the first half, while the powerful Jean Deysel, the hard-working Skeate and flank Marcell Coetzee were prominent in the win, and Frederic Michalak showed improved form at flyhalf.

There was also time for Stefan Terblanche to make an appearance off the bench in the last quarter to become the first player to play in 100 games for the Sharks in both the Currie Cup and Super Rugby competitions.

The Sharks have done well to hang onto second spot in the standings, but they lack authority and control and will now be boosted by their returning Springboks.

Saturday’s scores and scorers (home team first):

Leopards 14: Tries: Johann Laker, Danie Dames. Conversions: Wesley Dunlop (2). Sharks 41: Tries: Adi Jacobs, Jacques Botes, Lwazi Mvovo, Conrad Hoffmann, Keegan Daniel and Sibusiso Sithole. Conversions: Frederic Michalak (4). Penalty: Michalak

Lions 42: Tries: Bandise Maku, Jaco Taute (2), Martin Bezuidenhout, Derick Minnie. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (4). Penalties: Jantjies (3). Western Province 25: Try: Deon Fourie. Conversion: Demetri Catrakilis. Penalties: Catrakilis (5). Drop goal: Catrakilis.

Griquas 48: Tries: Rudi Vogt, Rocco Jansen (2), Dusty Noble, Matthew Rosslee (2). Coversions: Vogt (6). Penalties: Vogt (2). Blue Bulls 44: Tries: Bjorn Basson (2), Akona Ndungane, Jano Vermaak, Jacues Potgieter (2). Conversions: Louis Fouche (4). Penalty: Fouche. Drop goal: Fouche

Played Friday night: Pumas 25 Free State 29

This weekend’s fixtures (home team first):


Blue Bulls vs Leopards, 7.10 pm


Free State vs Griquas, 3 pm.

WP vs Pumas, 5.05 pm

Sharks vs Lions, 7.10 pm.

P W D L PD BPts Pts

Lions 13 10 1 2 146 8 50

Sharks 13 9 0 4 58 7 43

Cheetahs 13 7 2 4 164 10 42

WP 13 7 1 5 71 6 36

Bulls 13 7 1 5 13 5 35

Griquas 13 6 1 6 -34 9 35

Pumas 13 2 0 11 -155 7 15

Leopards 13 1 0 12 -263 1 5

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