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Sharks take (most of) the points on offer


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 11 Aug 2014 at 07:51
Tagged with : , , , , , , , ,

Brad Macleod-Henderson and Tera Mtembu got their maiden Currie Cup campaign as head coach and captain respectively off to a winning start in Kimberley on Saturday, with the Cell C Sharks recording a 31-24 win over GWK Griquas.

While the opening victory is to be applauded, particularly given that it came at a venue where the Sharks have enjoyed little success in recent years, The visitors’ failure to pick up a four-try bonus point, after Griquas had been forced to play with only 14 men for over 70 minutes, took a bit of gloss off the result.

It was the visitors who drew first blood; Maks van Dyk initially enjoyed supremacy over his rookie opponent Thomas du Toit and a penalty from the first scrum of the game saw fullback Nico Scheepers steer Griquas into a 3-0 lead. The game was turned on its head mere moments later, with Griquas outside centre Jonathan Franke shown a red card for a heinous spear tackle on Sharks fullback SP Marais. The tackle was about the worst you’ll see, with the Griquas man guilty of picking Marais up past the horizontal and then driving his head into the rock-hard turf. Fred Zeilinga stepped up to level the scores at 3-all, but Griquas should, by all accounts, have ceased to be a factor in the match.

The Sharks duly took control, as you’d expect. With referee Craig Joubert harsh on the home side’s niggling indiscretions, Zeilinga stretched the lead to 9-3 over the next 20 minutes, before a two-try burst ahead of half time saw the Sharks take full advantage of their extra man. The first went to Zeilinga himself, after a strong S’bra Sithole break and a speculative floated pass to Tonderai Chavhanga saw the flyhalf round off in the corner. The second saw Paul Jordaan show off his stepping skills, as he danced over from 10 metres out after his pack had won a tighthead at the scrum.

Holding a strong 18-3 advantage at the break, the Sharks looked well positioned to kick on and score a big win; Griquas, however, had other plans and proceeded to dominate a second half in which the lack of match fitness of so many of the Sharks players seemed to become a factor. With Griquas starting to make ground through strong ball carries, it was the Sharks who started to commit fouls and du Toit was duly yellow carded early in the half to briefly restore parity in terms of numbers. Zeilinga actually increased the lead to 21-3 while the young prop was off, but the tide had turned by this stage and it was Griquas who scored next, through impressive flanker Marnus Schoemen.

The try of the game followed, as replacement scrumhalf Hanco Venter and Zeilinga worked in tandem to put Sithole into the tiniest of gaps after a Sharks lineout 40m out. The big centre, who was the pick of the Sharks backs on the day, sprinted in for his team’s third try and the bonus point again looked a distinct possibility.

Once again, though, hopes were to be dashed as Griquas finished the stronger team, scoring twice more to put the Sharks under huge pressure. Number 8 Carel Greeff capped off a good game with a try in the corner, before a high kick from flyhalf Francois Brummer bamboozled Marais in the Sharks’ in-goal area, leading to a great score to replacement wing Ederies Arendse. After that try, Griquas trailed just 24-28 and looked like they might be on track for a famous win, before Zeilinga sent another penalty over in the 82nd minute to secure four points for the visitors.

Scores:
GWK Griquas (24): Tries Marnus Schoeman, Carel Greeff, Ederies Arendse. Conversions Nico Scheepers (3). Penalty Scheepers.
Cell C Sharks (31): Tries Fred Zeilinga, Paul Jordaan, S’bura Sithole. Conversions Zeilinga (2). Penalties Zeilinga (4).



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