Youngsters come to the party for error-prone Sharks

2012-08-27 00:00

THIS time the Sharks did indeed score four tries and grab a bonus point. But they also leaked a flood of points and were beaten 42-31 by the Blue Bulls in their Currie Cup game at Loftus on Saturday night.

The Sharks were very much in the contest until the final quarter when they trailed 24-25, but their high error rate and a couple of turnovers saw the Bulls run in two tries to settle the contest.

The Sharks, with their young replacements tossed into the fray, kept trying to the end. Wing Odwa Ndungane crossed after the final hooter for their fourth try and a bonus point, which keeps them at the top of the Currie Cup log alongside the Lions and Free State Cheetahs.

“We made too many mistakes and turned over too much ball on the night,” assistant coach Grant Bashford said yesterday, adding that the Sharks had also been exposed defensively around the edges when the Bulls counter-attacked.

“We were delighted by the character shown by the youngsters in chasing that bonus point try, but the damage had been done earlier.”

Bashford said the Bulls had been stronger in the collisions for most of the game.

“This prevented us building any momentum. We also conceded far too many penalties and this allowed Louis Fouché [the Bulls flyhalf] to keep them in the game until those two late tries.”

Bashford said the improvement in the Sharks’ scrummaging was a positive.

“We also showed we can score tries, but those many errors cost us and the Bulls took their scoring chances very well.”

The Sharks backline coach said that there were no serious injuries to report.

“We hope to have some players back for Saturday’s game against the Cheetahs [in Durban]. Meyer Bosman could be ready and we are hoping to get one or two of our Springboks back because of the bye weekend in the Rugby Championship.”

Louis Fouché had an excellent evening for the Bulls, landing all nine of his kicks (three conversions and six penalties) and booting a 55-metre drop goal for a total of 27 points, while flank JC Stander was prominent in the Bulls’ late flourish.

The Sharks’ scrummaging, the improved form of veteran centre Marius Joubert and the contributions of Odwa Ndungane, Charl McLeod and Steven Sykes were positive features on the night when they won the battle for the bonus point, but lost the war.

A pressure penalty by flyhalf Elton Jantjies after the final hooter saw the Lions edge Western Province 26-23 at Ellis Park.

Province were heavily punished for their poor discipline as Jantjies kicked six penalties, while flank Josh Strauss scored the home team’s only try.

Province had started well as Gerhard van den Heever rounded off an excellent move for a try that Demetri Catrakilis converted and added a penalty for a 10-0 lead.

But the Lions fought back and Strauss’s try and Jantjies boot gave them a seven-point advantage before WP prop Brok Harris plunged over in the closing minutes and the scores were level (23-23).

But the Lions launched a final attack on the final hooter and Province again conceded a penalty, which Jantjies goaled (26-23).

Free State Cheetahs battled in the first half, but fought back well in the second to beat Griquas 29-16 in Kimberley.

South African supporters will be delighted that the prodigiously talented Johan Goosen, returning to flyhalf after shoulder surgery, appeared well over his injury.

Griquas scored two first-half tries by lock Ligtoring Landman and wing Rocco Jansen, but the scores were level at 10-10 at half time after Free State’s Lappies Labuschagne responded.

Free State ran in three tries in the final quarter for a bonus point win, with wing Raymond Rhile, flank Franjs Viljoen and scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius scoring.

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