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Sharks win the scoreboard contest


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 15 Sep 2013 at 18:45
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , ,

On a day when there were few winners to be seen – with the beautiful game of rugby certainly not among them – the Sharks took an unlikely four log points off Griquas on Saturday afternoon to emerge 25-24 victors.

It could have turned into a decent contest, I guess, given how the teams started the game; however, after an early Butch James penalty, a sickening ankle break suffered by Griquas fullback PJ Vermuelen seemed to take a fair bit of zip out of the proceedings, with both sets of players clearly quite shaken by the incident. Griquas had fought back gamely for possession and territory by that stage and it was only a great cover tackle by Lwazi Mvovo that stopped the flying Vermuelen from registering the first try of the game.

Indiscipline, though, was the victor in a half that saw a further penalty go the Sharks’ way – and four others goaled by Griquas flyhalf Francois Brummer. All the good work that the Sharks have done in recent weeks in terms of straightening out their breakdown technique seemed undone as blow after shrill blow from referee Jaco Peyper’s whistle signaled infringements at the tackle. With Griquas holding a 12-6 lead after half an hour, alarm bells started to ring; the Sharks, though, struck back well after a good lineout ball went down the line to Keegan Daniel, who found Sizo Maseko with a deft offload. The right wing duly scored his maiden Currie Cup try, but James was unable to add the extras needed to put his side in front.

They say that the worst possible time to conceded points is just before half time, or just after and the Sharks duly went to sleep – and allowed their set pieces to implode once again – letting Griquas flankers Marnus and Burger Schoeman (no relation) in for tries either side of the break. That second score, which went to the ginger Burger Schoeman, was embarrassing, with the Sharks conceding a tighthead from a 5 meter scrum ahead of the score. The successful conversion saw Griquas suddenly ahead by 24 to 14 and things once again looked bleak for the visitors.

While I’d love to pretend that the fightback that ensued was the stuff of fairytales, it was more due to dogged resolve from the Sharks – coupled with a slew of Griquas brain farts – that the tables were finally turned. Fred Zeilinga, by that stage on for James, chipped away at the deficit via two penalties (missing three others in the process) before a series of professional fouls by Griquas eventually saw captain Ryno Barnes shown a yellow card. In the run-up to that event, though, the Sharks had eschewed at least four other kickable penalty attempts in favour of lineout drives which all failed, mostly due to an inability to win their own throw.

Once Barnes was gone, though, the dam wall broke and it fell to Wiehahn Herbst – scoring his first ever points in a Sharks jersey – to trundle over for the try that eventually nudged the visitors ahead. Zeilinga duly missed the conversion, but with just two minutes to play, Griquas were unable to find a way to tip the pendulum the other way before the final whistle mercifully ended this ugliest of contests.

The positive that the Sharks will take is, of course, their first log points in Kimberley since 2009. The side showed grit and determination in spades, just as they did in the second half last week; constructive play, alas, was in short supply once again.

Griquas 24 (17) – Tries: Burger Schoeman, Marnus Schoeman. Conversion: Francois Brummer. Penalties: Brummer (4).
The Sharks 25 (11) – Tries: Sizo Maseko, Wiehahn Herbst. Penalties: Butch James (3), Fred Zeilinga (2).



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