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Sharks under 19s lose, but only just


Written by beet bailey (beet)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks on 22 Aug 2011 at 07:00
Tagged with : , , , ,

The Sharks under 19 team was involved in a battle royale at Mr Price Kings Park on Friday afternoon. From as early as the 3rd minute, they fell behind and spent the rest of the match trying to play catch-up, a task that was nearly completed after the final hooter. However it was not to be their day and they went down by a heartbreaking point, losing 22-21.

The Leopards were expected to present a tough challenge but prior to kick-off it was believed that much of their onslaught would be led by their pack of forwards. So naturally it came as a bit of a surprise when the visitors moved the ball around the park and through the hands with confidence in the opening 20 minutes. Two well-rounded-off moves that began in their own half and ended in the left-hand corner in-goal area saw the Leopards race to a 14-3 lead by the 13th minute.

The Sharks dug deep and mounted a comeback. They slowly chipped away at this lead and in between 2 penalties by centre Ruan Allerston, fullback Keelin Bastew was put into a gap in midfield and weaved past the last line defender to score the Sharks’ first try.

At 14-13 down, the tide appeared to have turning but a lapse in concentration after the halftime hooter had sounded, handed the alert Leopards outfit an opportunity to recycle the ball and once again spread it wide, this time to the right where an overlap saw them get in for their third and final try.

Changing ends at 19-13 down, the Sharks made a critical substitution at halfback, bringing on Maritzburg College schoolboy Stefan Ungerer to partner his Craven Week teammate Robert du Preez, who is also still a schoolboy at Kearsney College. The Sharks seemed to gain more direction and definitely looked the better side going forward this second 35-minute period but too many unforced errors along the way undid much of their hard work on attack. On defence, the home team successfully put paid to hopes that the Leopards had of establishing anything that vaguely resembled a platform from which to attack. The contest at the breakdown was a standout feature of this game. Here as well, the Sharks looked to have the upper hand on their opponents in the second half.

The Leopards extended their lead via a 37th minute penalty. Ruan Allerston had a good game and it was his clean break and run that turned out to be the main inspiration behind Khaya Majola’s unconverted try in the corner. Late in the game Allerston added another penalty from 37m out after his captain Allan Dell seemed to seriously weigh up the option of setting up an attacking lineout before deciding on the kick at goal.

The Sharks under 19s were awarded a penalty about 50m out on the angle, after the hooter to signal the end of the match had gone off. Substitute Janco Tiedt was handed the difficult responsibility of landing a long range kick to win the game. His effort unfortunately fell about 5m short. The Leopards booted the ball off the park to claim a well-earned 22-21 victory

Following their very favourable 9-9 draw at Newlands a week earlier, the junior team had seen this game as an opportunity to build on the momentum gained and the much sought-after win would have placed them firmly back in playoff contention. Despite the bonus point earned against the Leopards, Ryan Strudwick’s men look set to fall to sixth place and now desperately need an away result against the Lions next weekend to keep their hopes of a semi-final berth alive.



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