Sharks’ five-try blitz sees off Griquas in Durban

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Sharks fullback Aphelele Fassi attacks against Griquas.
Sharks fullback Aphelele Fassi attacks against Griquas.
(Steve Haag/Gallo Images)

The Sharks began their preparation series on the best foot with a five-try 35-10 win over an initially tough Griquas at Kings Park on Sunday.

Sharks head coach Sean Everitt included star fullback Aphelele Fassi in a team bereft of regular starters, the idea clear that he needed to get some game minutes under his belt following a lengthy spell out with injury last year.

Fassie was hugely influential in the Sharks’ enterprising approach, as was Manie Libbok, who played at flyhalf while Curwin Bosch earned a well-deserved rest.

The pair almost combined for a brilliant try in the 19th minute but Fassi couldn’t control a Libbok pass with the try line at his mercy.

It was a rather tepid start to the game by both teams, however. Neither could string together decisive phases to cleave an opening in the tight areas.

The Sharks’ attempt to play an open game gave them a loose disposition in the first half, which played handsomely into Griquas’ hands.

The moisture and soggy surface also meant the game was replete with handling errors, especially on off-load attempts, which stunted many a Sharks attack.

Griquas also had the wood on the Sharks in the scrums – front-rowers Mox Mxoli and John-Roy Jenkins making hay while the Sharks rested their Springbok unit.

They made the most of their early dominance when flank Gideon van der Merwe scored one of the most opportunistic tries you will see in the 23rd minute.

He ripped the ball off his own player and sped to the line undetected to the try line.

It took a while for the Sharks to get going.

And after spending what felt like an eternity bashing the Griquas line, seasoned finisher Anthony Volmink finally went over to give the Sharks scoreboard a presence less than two minutes before the break.

The game swung hugely in the Sharks’ favour in the second half after Griquas No 9 Stefan Ungerer was yellow-carded in the 56th minute after stopping what would have been a breath-taking Sharks try, using his hand to slap down Werner Kok's pass to inside supporting runners.

The Sharks had to settle for a penalty try but they took the lead with the automatic seven-pointer. It also gave them impetus to take game away from the visitors.

Three minutes later Fassi ran in to score after the Sharks finally put together the kind of fluent attacking move they’d been searching for all afternoon.

Replacement wing Thaakir Abrahams scored just over 10 minutes left to go in the contest, part of a late Sharks flurry of tries that included substitute No 10 Jordan Chait scoring late on.

Everitt would also be pleased that they held Griquas to no points in the second half.


Sharks – 35 (7)

Tries: Anthony Volmink, penalty try, Aphelele Fassi, Thaakir Abrahams, Jordan Chait

Conversions: Manie Libbok (2), Jordan Chait (2)

Griquas – 10 (10)

Try: Gideon van der Merwe

Conversion: George Whitehead

Penalty: George Whitehead

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