Sharks take a bite out of the Pumas

2014-08-16 00:00

THE Sharks secured a vital bonus point as they beat Pumas 34-17 at a greasy King’s Park in Durban last night.

Light rain earlier in the day made conditions tricky but that didn’t stop both teams running the ball when they had the chance.

It was the Pumas who struck first after Sharks scrumhalf Cameron Wright was forced to run the ball out just outside his five metre line. Pumas lock Frikkie Spies scored at the back of a driving maul for the first try of the match with flyhalf Justin van Staden converting.

The Sharks hit back soon after with Fred Zeilinga slotting a penalty after the Pumas were penalised for collapsing a scrum.

The Pumas then went on the attack once again but conceded a penalty just behind the half way line. Zeilinga slotted an unbelievable 50-metre kick that kissed the crossbar on the way over just after 20 minutes.

Possession switched hands for the next 10 minutes as both teams battled to put phases together. However, a good kick chase and tackle by hooker Kyle Cooper gave Zeilinga another penalty kick just inside the Pumas half. The kick unfortunately bounced off the left upright.

The Sharks were saved on the stroke of half time after a dangerous chip in their 22 was caught by fullback SP Marais, who dived to make the mark. The ball was put into touch and the teams headed into the change room with the score reading 7-6 to the Pumas.

The Sharks came out flying after the break and managed to score from their kick-off. It was Marais who crossed the whitewash in the left corner after a number of phases to give the Sharks their first try with Zeilinga converting.

However, Van Staden slotted his first penalty after the restart as the Sharks were penalised for not releasing.

Sharks lock Marco Wentzel copped a yellow card five minutes later for not rolling away at a ruck. The Pumas capitalised on the overlap and eighthman Renaldo Bothma beat two would-be tacklers to score in the right hand corner. Van Staden was on target with his conversion.

Pat Lambie entered the fray around the 55-minute mark but it was his forwards who gave the Sharks their second try. Jacques Botes scored from a well worked lineout drive with Lambie converting.

The Sharks began to dominate play and captain Tera Mtembu scored from another maul with just 20 minutes left to go.

Play see-sawed as both teams looked for field position. However, the Sharks put the final nail in the coffin with replacement hooker Monde Hadebe scoring from yet another maul, which Lambie converted to secure a bonus point.

Jacques Botes was awarded man of the match for some outstanding play in the loose, while Mtembu was also impressive throughout the game.

The Sharks host the Cheetahs in Durban next Saturday.

Sharks 34 (6): Tries: Marais, Botes, Mtembu, Hadebe. Conversions: Zeilinga (1), Lambie (3). Penalties Zeilinga (2).

Pumas 17 (7): Tries: Spies, Bothma. Conversions: Van Staden (2). Penalties: Van Staden (1).

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