The Sharks consolidated their position at the top of the ABSA Currie Cup standings by virtue of a 48-30 bonus-point victory over the visiting Griquas on Friday evening.
Surprise defeats for both the second-placed Western Province and the third-placed Blue Bulls see the Durban side with a scarcely-believable 7-point gap over their nearest rivals on the table. Province went down 24-29 to Free State in Cape Town, while the Bulls’ lacklustre showing in Nelspruit saw them slump to a 21-22 defeat to the lowly Pumas. The Cheetahs managed to leapfrog both the Bulls and Griquas into third spot, with the Kimberley side dropping out of semi-final contention, despite picking up a bonus point in Durban.
The Sharks scored five tries, but were spared a few blushes after a 23-point haul from the boot of Pat Lambie served to cancel out the astonishing 4 tries scored by Griquas winger Bjorn Basson – 3 of them in the second half once the Sharks felt they had the game sewn up. After a solid first half that netted three triesto the home side – courtesy of Stefan Terblanche, Beast Mtawarira and Odwa Ndungane, the Sharks battled bravely to wrap up the bonus point not long after half time. Monty Dumond scored the vital fourth, but the fans were forced to watch in frustration as the team lost there structure thereafter and allowed Basson the freedom that very nearly turned the game.
Lambie stroked over enough penalties throughout the half, though, the keep Griquas more than a score behind, before Craig Burden finally put the result beyond doubt with the fifth try on the stroke of full-time.
The Sharks will travel to Pretoria next weekend safe in the knowledge that, win or lose, they cannot now be knocked off top spot.Tweet