The Sharks have jumped to the top of the Currie Cup log after a dominating second half performance which ended Western Province’s unbeaten run. They end the first round of matches in pole position, with WP showing a similar record with 6 wins and only the one loss, but the Sharks trumping them with a few extra bonus points along the way.
The first half was an evenly matched affair, which never really got flowing. The Sharks attempted to play a wider game, but it wasn’t the game to play against a defensively strong Western Province side. The scoring was opened by Pat Lambie with his second attempt at goal, in the 7th minute.
It was a scrappy half hour after that, which saw the Sharks give away too many penalties. Willem de Waal had his first go at posts in the 22nd minute, which was a 50m attempt which he missed He managed to slot two penalties to get Province in the lead in the 35th minute.
After a beautiful break by Keegan Daniel, he got Odwa Ndungane free who ran in untouched to score a good try just before half time. After the hooter went, Monty Dumond, who was on for the concussed Louis Ludik, failed to kick the ball out, cost the Sharks 3 points after de Waal slotted a penalty. Half time score was 8 – 9 to Province.
The second half started with the Sharks reverting to the game that has worked so well for them thus far this season, keeping the ball in hand and building the phases. This paid dividend after just 5 minutes, when after an 8 phase build up, Kankowski skipped through a few tackles and dotted down. This seemed to give the Sharks the confidence to keep the ball in hand, and what followed can only described as a dominating performance, where WP couldn’t get their hands on the ball, and were frustrated to the point of conceding penalty after penalty, which were duly converted by Lambie.
Nick Koster managed to score a consolation try minutes after the hooter had gone, to give the score some respectability at 27 – 16. The Sharks will be disappointed to have let that try through, as they would have liked to keep WP scoreless in the second half.
The return of Beast Mtawarira, Bismarck du Plessis and Ryan Kankowski made a huge impact, and even though the first half would rather be forgotten, they all will feel really unlucky to not have been involved in the big Soweto test earlier in the day, which had a dimming effect on the 26 000 odd crowd at the Tank.
Bismarck was named Man of the Match after a great display on attack and defence, which he conceded very few penalties, if any, and will more than likely not be available for the next match against Griquas as a result of Springbok duty. Injuries to Louis Ludik and Andries Strauss early in game gave Monty Dumond and Riaan Swanepoel 50 odd minutes, and Swanepoel had a great impact with quite a few bulging runs, and was great on defence.Tweet