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Power second half secures Sharks Loftus success


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Bulls, Currie Cup, Original Content, Sharks on 20 Sep 2014 at 18:54
Tagged with : , , , , , , ,

The Sharks have recorded a 26-15 victory over the Blue Bulls at Loftus, thanks to a strong second-half showing that shut their hosts out.

A slow start, in which they conceded the lion’s share of possession and territory, saw the Sharks looking well beaten as half time loomed. With only two long-range penalties by SP Marais to show, they trailed 6-12, after Jacques-Louis Potgieter had nailed four good spot kicks of his own. More concerningly, the Sharks were looking well beaten in the up front exchanges, with scrums and lineout drives providing a steady source of both possession and penalty opportunities for the hosts.

The old spectres of handling errors, missed tackles and indiscipline had conspired to rob the Sharks of any chance at momentum. Their luck was to change, though, as thoroughbred Lwazi Mvovo pounced on a loose Bulls pass and sprinted away for the opening try just before the break. Lucky it certainly was; in the 39 minutes prior to that score, Mvovo had hardly seen any ball and it was testament to his great finishing ability that he was able to convert the only half-chance he was given. Lionel Cronje’s conversion was good and the smattering of fans at the stadium must have had to rub their eyes, so incredible was it for the Sharks to lead at half time (albeit by a single point).

It was a different Sharks team that took the field after the break, though – full of purpose and attacking intent. There were still errors, of course, but with the likes of Etienne Oosthuizen proving a somewhat unlikely menace at the breakdown, the surfeit of possession and front-foot ball allowed Cameron Wright and Cronje to dictate play. The second try was a real beauty, with the flyhalf finding schoolboy teammate S’bura Sithole on the right wing with a beautifully weighted cross kick, this after the Sharks forwards had come close on a number of occasions.

That 8-point lead was soon stretched to 11, as Cronje struck again with a penalty to make the score 12-23. It stayed that way for much of the rest of the half until Potgieter gave his side some hope with a penalty in the 69th minute. With the Bulls lacking variety and accuracy on attack, though, there weren’t to be any more points for them in the half; Cronje struck again shortly before the end to secure the Sharks their first win in a month, much to the delight of fans, players and coaching staff.

Blue Bulls (15): Penalties Jacques-Louis Potgieter (5).

Sharks (26): Tries Lwazi Mvovo, S’bura Sithole. Conversions Lionel Cronje (2). Penalties SP Marais (2), Cronje (2)



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