“We’re running late.” Well, that’s what I thought as we passed Moses Mabhida Stadium on our way to ABSA Stadium. The lack of traffic and the ease with which we manoeuvred our way into the stadium led me to believe that a number of the Shark-Tank faithfuls had chosen to sit this one out. I found my seat just in time to catch the warm welcome given by the Sharks Flashers, and this time their signature moves were accompanied by the sounds of the late, legendary MJ – The Way You Make Me Feel…nice.
Steven Sykes, celebrating his 50th Currie Cup cap, led the team out to the cheers from the sparsely populated stands. There were no last minutes changes on either side as the teams lined up for kick off. The flashbacks of the Sharks gasping at the Newlands pond were quickly erased when they scored a try in the first minute of the game, Guy Cronje doing a Butch James – popping an inside pass that Swannie collected well on his way to score a brilliant try.
The local boys had their way for most of the second half, scoring three more tries to secure the try bonus point. The second try came from brilliant work from Deon Carstens, who intercepted a Boland move and ran for over 30 metres. For a second it looked like Rito Hlungwane had made a try-saving tackle – but the experienced Sharks’ prop was able to roll over and ground the ball.
The Sharks mauled their third try over the line with Craig Burden as the ball-carrier, after an attacking lineout set up by a brilliant kick from Stefan Terblanche.
Stefan also had a hand in the fourth try when he set Lwazi Mvovo free – the speedy winger did everything by the book and managed to pass to Keegan to cross the tryline.
Bonus point try for the Sharks – and a much-needed third try for my Fantasy League Squad.
Boland spent a bit of time in the Sharks’ 22 in the final moments of the first half with the referee penalizing the home team for offence after offence, some of which I didn’t really understand. The visitors set up a number of attacking lineouts from the resulting penalties – but all their efforts came to nothing as the Sharks defended strongly.
The second half was also a successful one for the Sharks with both Craig and Keegan going over for the second time in the match. Boland managed to get a consolation try towards the end of the game via centre Deon Scholtz- but the Durban boys ensured that they had the last say when veteran Albert van den Berg intercepted the ball in his 22 and ran all the way to score the Sharks 7th try of the match. The rest of the points came from the boot of Rory Kockott (3 con, 1 pen) and Monty Dumond ( 1 con). Final score Sharks 46- Boland 10.
A lot of positives and a few negatives emerged from this game, and I’m sure most of them have been discussed – but I cannot complete this write up without mentioning the excitement that the Cronje brothers brought to the Shark-Tank. I’m not one who advocates the act of counting eggs (or is it one egg?) before they hatch – but in this case I’ll make an exception and say that the Sharks have found gold in this golden-haired twosome.
It was also encouraging to see the guys (pronounced Stefan and Rory) playing sensible rugby and taking better options when it came to running, passing and kicking. But still on that high, the low is that we haven’t shaken the habit of being wasteful. Looking at the amount of chances we created in the second half, and taking the halftime score into consideration – I expected a 50 point game. With the Griquas and Province also pushing for a semifinal spot this year- we have to take all the points on offer.
Nevertheless, I went home in high spirits – looking forward to the next clash against the Bulls with glee. That, off course, was before I learned that Hernandez was not going to make it in time – and before I knew that I had to place an order for a certain fashionable armband. If that was a spear tackle – it was definitely the kind that was used by Shakespeare – and not the King Shaka type.
I caught bits and pieces of the Bulls vs Province game – and although the Bulls will give us a hard time, especially upfront – I’ll complete my ramblings by saying that I feel better about our chances than I did last Monday.Tweet