The Sharks managed to again disappoint the few supporters that went to Mr. Price Kings Park on Saturday afternoon, proving that any match played at home is a battle even if it is against a team that has not won a match so far this season. The Sharks won, yes, outscoring their opponents 33 – 20, but it took them a while to get going and alarm bells must now be ringing that the Sharks just cannot get themselves to bury a minnow team.
The Pumas were first out of the blocks with a long range penalty effort from ex-Sharks boy Tiaan Marx, the Sharks penalized at the breakdown. What ensued was the Sharks not being able to put a lineout together, and being penalized minutes later, again at the break down. Luckily for the Sharks, van Wyk missed the shot at goal.
The Sharks hit back, not by their own accord, but from a Pumas pass that went to ground, after which Hoffmann took a quick tap and put Burden over the whitewash. Michalak added the extras and the Sharks were in front, albeit luckily, after ten minutes. Ross Skeate left the field while this try was being scored, after taking a heavy knock in midfield, with Anton Bresler coming on.
The Pumas hit back immediately, scoring a try of their own, Coenie van Wyk on the receiving end of a well worked move up the middle of the field. He converted his own try to pull ahead again after 15 minutes
After a prolonged period of frustrating rugby from the Sharks, they finally managed to string a few passes together, only for the final pass to be intercepted by Coenie van Wyk, running 80m to score under the posts, resulting in a ten point lead for the Pumas. Late in the first half Michalak had an attempt at goal after a Pumas indiscretion at the breakdown, but the kick went wide.
Just before half time, the Sharks took the ball through some phases and Jean Deysel put in a good run, brushing off a few players before scoring a good try. Michalak converted a difficult chance to pull the deficit back to only three points. This was the deficit at half time, with the Pumas leading 17 – 14, this match going much the same way as the first round match against the Pumas in Witbank went.
The second half started much the same way as the first did, with a Pumas penalty stretching their lead to 6 points. Wiehahn Herbst only lasted 8 minutes into the second half before being substituted by Eugene van Staden. A good build up by the Sharks after a break by Hoffmann led to the third try being scored, this time by Anton Bresler, who crashed over in the right hand corner after a smart change of direction by Keegan Daniel.
The Sharks remained in control of the game over the next fifteen or so minutes, but could not score any more points, losing possession or making silly errors at important times. With 23 minutes left to play, Marcell Coetzee took a break from the action, Jacques Botes coming onto the park in his place and Ross Cronje got his chance with Conrad Hoffmann coming off. Fred Michalak got another chance to go at goal, this time to take the lead with a quarter of the game to go, but again uncharacteristically missed it. This also led to Adi Jacobs coming on, with Ludik coming off the park and Stefan Terblanche moving to fullback.
Jacques Botes made an immediate impact, picking up a terrible pass on the wing to dive over in the corner, scoring the Sharks’ bonus point try. Michalak redeemed himself by successfully converting from the sideline to take a six point lead with 16 minutes to play.
Craig Burden was replaced in the 65th minute, Kyle Copper getting a few minutes to show what he can do. It didn’t take long before the Sharks managed to cross the tryline for the fifth time, Botes scoring his second of the afternoon, with Michalak duly converting to give the Sharks a thirteen point lead. This was Michalak’s last play of the game as Jacques-Louis Potgieter was given 5 minutes.
All in all a disappointing showing from the Sharks, but as they say, a team playing badly and still winning is a champion team. The question here is, how badly can the Sharks afford to play against the Cheetahs next week?
Tries: Craig Burden, Jean Deysel, Anton Bresler, Jacques Botes (2)
Conversions: Fred Michalak (4)
Tries: Coenie van Wyk (2)
Conversions: Coenie van Wyk (2)
Penalties: Tiaan Marx (1), Coenie van Wyk (1)