So here’s a few highlights of the game as I saw it, I know it took a while, I hope it was worth the wait.
The game started off with the Sharks already 3 points ahead. This is what happens when you go to the game with your family and some members don’t really care to get there for the kick-off. We had gotten a penalty and Lambie scored the first of his impressive tally of the night.
(1)Right from the first moment it was clear that the Sharks was going to play an attacking game, with Lambie going through a break created by Monty Dumond, but playing an expansive game like that also meant that you would make a few mistakes. It seems the Sharks were willing to take that chance, in favor of a more exciting game. I would think they will work on keeping those little errors to a minimum in the future. (1) Attacking Start
(2) The first try came within the first few minutes and it’s too bad this game wasn’t aired, because I could watch this try over and over again from every angle possible. It wasn’t extravagant or flashy, it was just brilliant. Receiving the ball from a solid scrum in the middle of the field Lambie slipped through two defenders and put Stefan Terblanche in for the first try. Admittedly the defense did just open up for him, but I believe that’s what great players does, they created those wide open spaces for themselves and for the players around them. (2) First Try
(3) The Sharks was not afraid to run the ball from within their own half and more often than not was successful in taking the ball up the field in good attacking play, unfortunately to often these moves ended in lost possession, as adventure was the choice of the day, when maybe sometimes setting up the ruck and another phase of play would have been the better option. (3) Lost Chances
(4) I have to point out that I am being very hard on our boys, because they didn’t always just throw the ball away, I just felt like they did it a few times to many. Having said that, 1 Set piece, 40 meters, 12 phases and 13 passes later our second try was scored by Beast Mtwarira, only one of the 11 players who handled the ball in setting up the exact type of try that proves that the Sharks are good enough to eliminate the type of silly errors they made earlier. (4) Try two
(5) The Sharks was already ahead by a comfortable 17 points within the first 20 minutes of the first half, but knew that complacency was not something they could afford against a Griquas team that proved a 17 point lead was not too big for them to chase down in the teams’ first match encounter. It was refreshing to see that the Sharks had enough confidence to run the ball straight from the kick off. It was even more refreshing to see that they actually had the skills to score tries from within their own 22 and had it not been for Dumond holding on to a ball that should have gone to Mvovo this may well have been the case. It was still good enough to mention. I love seeing the Sharks in this mood. (5) Lost Chances again
(6) I just had to add this, not only can Lambie make beautiful breaks and create tries, but he also knows when to kick and then execute those kicks perfectly. He was in complete control of this game. And if not putting his players into space, kept the Griquas stuck in their half with smart and well executed kicks. (6) Patrick Lambie
(7) Lambie wasn’t the only guy on the field delivering some excellent rugby though. This really was an awesome team effort. I was pleasantly surprised by how good our supportive running was and how the player making a run always had someone to make the short pass or the offload to, or how quick players got to the break down to set up clean ball for McLeod who was always there to get the ball wide for a back line who was therefore given plenty of space to work with. But it’s the good the bad and the ugly right and as I said the Sharks made too many stupid errors to end moves like this. Keegan Daniel provided the Sharks with the ugly when he messed up one of these beautiful pieces of play by holding on to a pass way to long. Mvovo missed out on another try that he would have scored in the corner. (7) Had to be a try
(8) This ugly was followed by the really ugly when a sequence of loose play and bad passes by the Sharks ended in the ball being ripped out of the grasp of Andries Strauss and Bjorn Basson running in for a giveaway try under the poles of the Sharks. What should have been 29 – 0 for the Sharks was now a far more uncomfortable 15 – 7, A very unacceptable period of play that the Sharks would want to eliminate in weeks to come. (8) Griquas 1st
(9) Fortunately the Sharks scored their 3rd try not even a minute later, when Dumond showed some beautiful skill, getting the inside pass from Terblanche, Monty ran through a huge whole left in the Griquas defense and made a very good pass to find Odwa Ndugane on the right wing to go over for the try that restored the 17 point lead, the half time score ending 25 – 10 with Riaan Viljoen converting a long range penalty for Griquas late in the half, all in all, a satisfactory first half from the Sharks. (9) 3rd Try
(10) The second half started just as the first with the Sharks looking to attack, all Griquas could do to stop the Sharks from getting over the line was slowing the ball down. Sharks captain Stefan Terblanche decided to take the 3 points from the resulting penalty. A decision that was not very popular with the 15 odd thousand crowd, soon after Griquas put over a penalty themselves just for Stefan to make another unpopular decision, asking Lambie to go for poles again, the score 31 – 16. (10) Attacking again
(11) Both teams got a little stuck with the ball and the game didn’t really go anywhere for about 10 minutes, until McLeod took matters into his own hands. He took a quick tap from a penalty and showed that he can do a little more than just get quick ball out to the back, too bad this play ended in turnover possession again. (11) McLeod Run
(12) (13) Griquas is not the type of team to lie down and Sarel Pretorius answered McLeod’s run with a snipe of his own showing the fighting spirit they needed to get back into the game. It was the Sharks who gave them their 3rd try though, Dumond dropped a pass, which Basson picked up to run through for another try under the poles, this after Griquas were reduced to 14 men when Davon Raubenheimer was sent off with a yellow card for slowing down the ball. The 15 point margin had shrunk to 8. (12) Sarel Pretorius (13) Griquas 2nd
(14) (15) Instead of changing their game and panicking the Sharks put together another 10 phases and 14 passes with 11 players handling the ball for the bonus point try, but like I said it’s the good the bad and the ugly and this beautiful period of play was followed by another potential try going to ground. Again Mvovo was the guy that could possibly have scored, only this time it was all his fault, had he taken the pass, he had one cover defender to beat and he was in for the try. I guess he was surprised when Stefan passed the ball to him. That’s potential try number three that the Sharks threw away. (14) Bonus Point Try (15) Dropped Chance
(16)(17)(18) For the period leading up to the third try of Griquas the Sharks played the game in their own half too much and I felt that someone needed to see the potential threat it was holding. Even though we had possession most of this period we couldn’t get over the half way line and into their half. Every run and every move lead to nothing. When Griquas got possession they knew where they had to go and Naas Olivier’s kick for Basson was great opportunistic play to give Basson his hat trick. There was only time for a yellow card for Van Staden, before a other well timed and placed kick gave Griquas and Basson their 4th try of the evening to make the score 38 – 30, which could have been even worse had Olivier’s kicking been better. (16) Stuck in own half (17) 3rd Try (18) 4th Try
(19)(20) Fortunately the Sharks didn’t make us suffer this one out to the death of the game. Lambie got a penalty shortly after the restart to widen that gap to 11 and with only 50 seconds left another kickable penalty was this time put into touch by the captain. He wanted to score another try and his team didn’t disappoint. (19) 5th Try Setup (20) 5th Try
There was definitely a few lapses in concentration in this game, which gave Griquas more points than we ever should have allowed them, but the Sharks was razor sharp on attack, again. It’s a bonus point win and things are looking good ahead of the Bulls game at Loftus.
(21) Andre Pretorius never got a chance to show what he can do in a Sharks jersey, but he doesn’t look to bad wearing the jersey. (21) Andre PretoriusTweet