The Sharks confirmed their status as favourites for this year’s Currie Cup when they continued their dominant form with a 66-12 win over the Griquas in Durban on Saturday.
Rugby 365 reports that the victory boosted the Sharks to the top of the log standings once again, after the Blue Bulls temporarily took top spot overnight.
The Sharks ran in 10 tries to two from the Griquas, with Keegan Daniel securing a brilliant hat-trick on the day.
The bonus point win means that the Sharks will host the Lions at Absa Stadium in next week’s semifinal. It also means that the Sharks will have a home Final, should they overcome the Lions.
The home side hit the ground running in their final round-robin encounter as they tore in to the hapless Griquas from the word go.
The Sharks were purposeful and composed, and it was clear that the visitors were in for a tough day as early as the fourth minute when Keegan Daniel dotted down for the first try of the match.
The Sharks continued their relentless onslaught, and four minutes later they doubled their lead through in-form wing JP Pietersen.
In many ways, Griquas’ were consigned to defeat as early as the 14th minute after centre Frans Steyn compounded the misery for the Griquas by scored the Sharks’ third try to take his side into a 19-0 lead.
Prior to half-time, both Daniel and Pietersen secured their brace as the Sharks romped to a 33-0 lead.
Once again, No.8 Ryan Kankowski was absolutely indomitable with ball in hand, impressing with a number of magnificent breaks.
Scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar, flank Daniel, Pietersen and fellow wing Odwa Ndungane were also exceptional for the Sharks on the day.
The Durbanites started the second half just where they had left off with lock Albert van den Berg going over early on, despite injuring his shoulder in the process.
Hooker John Smit then marked his return to the Absa Stadium in grand style when he crashed over for the Sharks’ seventh try. It was Smit’s first match in the Sharks’ starting line-up in the Currie Cup this year. The Bok captain spent months on the sidelines recovering from a groin injury sustained against New Zealand in the Tri-Nations.
Pienaar continued the march by slotting yet another penalty to make it 45-0 with half an hour to play.
Flank Jacques Botes then added his name to the scoresheet in the 54th minute, snaffling a loose pass on the halfway line and galloping all 50 metres to dot down under the sticks.
A few minutes later the Sharks returned the favour though, when Smit threw a loose pass that was picked up by Griquas scrumhalf Sarel Pretorius, who dashed all the way to dive over for the visitor’s first try.
Flyhalf Naas Olivier was next to cross the try-line for Griquas to make it 52-12 and give their travelling supporters something to smile about.
Yet after a good 20-minute period for the Griquas, wing Odwa Ndungane intercepted a poor pass to go over for his side’s ninth try in the 75th minute. This switched the momentum back to the Sharks and Daniel soon went over for his hat-trick.
A minute later the final hooter sounded to mark a great win for the Sharks as they look ahead to the play-offs.
For the Sharks:
Tries: Daniel 3, Pietersen 2, Steyn, Van den Berg, Smit, Botes, Ndungane
Cons: Pienaar 6, Kockott 2
Tries: Pretorius, Olivier
Yellow card: Brad Barritt (Sharks, 67 – Repeated infringements, offside)Tweet