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Sharks hold their nerve


Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Currie Cup, Lions, Original Content, Sharks on 3 Oct 2014 at 22:07
Tagged with : , , , , , , , ,

Fred Zeilinga has kicked seven penalties to help his Sharks side record a nervous, but vital, 26-23 wins over the Lions at Kings Park this evening.

In an entertaining contest from start to finish, it was the Sharks who held their composure just that little bit better, in the process handing Jacques Botes (who put in a somewhat to-be-expected man of the match performance) one last Kings Park victory to savour. Zeilinga, on as an early replacement for unlucky Paul Jordaan, possibly deserved the plaudits more, with a great performance under difficult circumstances.

Jordaan was stretchered off as early as the seventh minute, picking up a serious hip injury in a tackle. The reshuffled Sharks backline battled to find much synergy on attack without him, but defended well for the most part. An early penalty to Marnitz Boshoff was ecliped by a stunning try to Andre Esterhuizen, who ran straight over the luckless Courtnall Skosan after receiving a great pass from Zeilinga. Boshoff’s second penalty not long afterwards edged his side ahead 6-5, before Esterhuizen turned villain in receiving a yellow card for a forearm fend. Zeilinga himself followed in infamy, as a sure scoring pass to Lwazi Mvovo was intercepted by the flying Ruan Combrinck, the Lions mans going on to dot down on the other end.

All of a sudden, the Sharks were wight points down and looking a little rattled.

Zeilinga, though, stepped up and with the Sharks pack slightly edging a rather messy breakdown contest, penalties either side of half time saw the home side nose ahead. Zeilinga struck with his third soon after to take the Sharks out to a 20-13 lead, with Boshoff then pulling one back before he again restored the 7-point gap.

At 23-16 ahead, one would have hoped that the Sharks could have kicked on and scored another try, but some poor scrum work and a bit of their own indiscipline saw the Lions rather take the advantage, with Stokkies Hanekom tapping a penalty deep in Sharks territory to score after some poor defence from the men in black and white. Boshoff converted to level the scores and a thrilling last quarter of an hour appeared to be in store.

Neither side was much able to capitalise, though, with the Lions losing Derrick Minnie to a very unfortunate yellow card from the next kick-off. Zeilinga missed that penalty kick, but did nail another one minutes later to edge the Sharks ahead and despite some very poor decision-making in those final frantic minutes, the Sharks’ defence held firm often enough to secure the narrowest of wins and a guaranteed semi-final berth in the process.

Sharks (26): Try Andre Esterhuizen. Penalties Fred Zeilinga (7)
Lions (23): Tries Ruan Combrinck, Stokkies Hanekom. Conversions Marnitz Boshoff (2). Penalties Boshoff (3)



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