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Team Points
Premier Division
Xerox Golden Lions 10 10 48
Vodacom Blue Bulls 10 8 39
DHL Western Province 10 7 35
Toyota Free State Cheetahs 10 3 24
Cell C Sharks 10 4 22
Steval Pumas 10 3 17
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Super Sharks win again

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 23 May 2014 at 11:27
Tagged with : , , , , , , , , ,

The Cell C Sharks have extended their lead at the top of the Vodacom Super Rugby table by beating the Blues 29-23 in North Harbour.

Completing their first unbeaten tour of New Zealand since 2010, Jake White’s side have banked 13 log points from a possible 20 on tour, ensuring some reward at least from each of their four fixtures.

Today’s game showed just how much belief and guts there is in this team. A strong forward display laid the platform, with locks Stephan Lewies and Ettienne Oosthuizen again momentous, particularly on defence. It was the same Sharks game plan of subdue and penetrate and again they made life a little difficult for themselves at times, with a few poor kicks and some poor discipline preventing them from ever getting too far ahead.

In the first half, a great try to Bismarck du Plessis got them going – the captain crashing over after good initial work close in from Beast Mtawarira and S’bura Sithole. Frans Steyn nailed the conversion, plus two penalties and a drop goal to take the side to a good 16-6 lead as the whistle blew. The Blues had pulled back two penalties via Simon Hickey, but hadn’t made much of an impact with ball in hand, despite edging both possession and territory during the half.

The second period did not want for drama, with Jannie du Plessis – who was otherwise solid – copping a yellow card for multiple team indiscretions shortly after the break. Blues captain Luke Braid went over for a try shortly afterwards, making it a 3-point ball game, before Steyn had a further opportunity to stretch the lead out to 6 once more. Another brilliant break-out try by Cobus Reinach followed as Lewies hacked through behind a Blues ruck. The Sharks scrumhalf, for a second week running, out-sprinted everyone to turn a sniff of a chance into a good 7-pointer. With a 13-point lead, the game was the Sharks’ to lose.

Referee Nick Briant did his best to even matters up, showing a card to Frans Steyn for slowing the ball down and then allowing a Blues try despite a clear forward pass. With the home side back within 6 and the Sharks blowing hard, the writing seemed on the wall – fortunately the Blues infringed from the very next restart and SP Marais knocked over his first points for the Sharks at this level to restore some daylight. The Blues narrowed back to 6 minutes later, but simply couldn’t find that extra gear necessary and were forced to concede defeat to a Sharks team that threw everything they had into defence in those frantic last ten minutes.


Blues (23): Tries Luke Braid, Tevita Li. Conversions Simon Hickey, Ihaia West. Penalties Hickey (2), West
Sharks (29): Tries Bismarck du Plessis, Cobus Reinach. Conversions Frans Steyn (2). Penalties Steyn (3), SP Marais. Drop-goal Steyn.


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