The Sharks Under 19s had to endure some pressure going into the final minutes of a closely-contested Absa Under 19 semi-final match against the Golden Lions in the curtain-raiser to the main game at The Absa Stadium Durban before eventually running out 28-25 winners.
Michael Marnewick of Sharksrugby.co.za
As games go, this one was as tight as they get, although it wasn’t always that way. The visitors struck first with an early try but the home side weren’t to buckle as they hammered away until they started to assert themselves, with two runaway tries and a penalty taking them into a 17-7 lead at the break.
However, pressure turns situations around and they were rewarded for their fine work, especially at the breakdowns and setpieces. In the scrums, the Lions simply had no answer, although the stronger Sharks’ side unfortunately got penalised for their stronger scrumming time and again as their advantage could not be turned into pressure.
The second half was closer with the Lions enjoying a resurgence and with the time ticking away on the clock, it appeared that they might spoil the Sharks’ party. A couple of tries scored against one from the home side suddenly had the cat among the pigeons and matters not quite as assured as they had seemed earlier.
However, the pinpoint kicking of Ross Cronje proved the difference as the home side kept their noses in front. As the clock got closer to zero, so the Lions exerted a late charge and all of a sudden, it was a three point game. However, the try conversion was missed and despite their best efforts, the visitors were unable to capitalise on their possession and it was an elated home side who raised their arms in victory when the final whistle was blown.
Sharks Under 19 Wing Mark Richards scored two tries and Arno van Zyl the other, with captain Ross Cronje contributing via the boot with two conversions and three penalties.
For the Lions, Winston Williams scored one try and Luan Steenkamp the other, as well as a penalty and two conversions. Demetri Catrikilis converted one penalty.Tweet