The Sharks beat a hapless Force team on Saturday night, scoring a seven try 53 – 11 victory over their Australian opposition. The full five points, along with various other results this weekend going their way, has put the Sharks right back in the play-off race, currently in sixth place, one point behind the Crusaders in fifth.
The Sharks started the game well, heading out to a 20 – 6 lead at half time, scoring the necessary two tries in the first half, half way to the bonus point. Pat Lambie got two penalties, two conversions as well as setting up a try for Jordaan before going off at half time with an injured jaw.
The second half saw five more tries scored, two very fortunate intercepts from Lwazi Mvovo, both as the Force were putting pressure deep in the Sharks 22m. Mvovo showed a clean pair of heals twice in a matter of 5 minutes, putting the game beyond doubt.
The Sharks, for the first time in five years, put a half century of points past a Super Rugby opponent, finally showing the ability to finish off a game and not rest on their laurels after building a 14 point lead.
Killing off the game early in the second half meant that key players could get an extended break while fringe players and players returning from injury could get half an hour or so. Burden took his chance with both hands, getting in on the try scoring act. Kankowski also looked reasonably good in the half that he got, the freestyle play that the lead allowed suiting his game to a T.
The Sharks looked good in the set pieces, with the scrums being dominated by a pack clearly happy that the Beast is back in business. The line-outs also looked good, with Bresler being the main line-out taker for the Sharks, and doing an immense job.
The most notable weakness on the night was Charl McLeod, who had an average game at best, kicking away valuable possession and not being very accurate with his passing. It is unfortunate that the Sharks are battling in this position, as an in form scrumhalf could really set an exciting backline alight.
The victory will do the Sharks confidence a great deal of good, but they have to keep a level head as they face a wounded Cheetahs outfit in Bloemfontein this weekend, and as the Stormers found out on Saturday night, the men from Bloem are far from walk-overs. The running game against a pretty average looking Cheetahs defence will be the eay to go, but our own defence will have to keep the try scoring machines at bay.
On a final note, the consistency in selecting an unchanged team did wonders for the team, in that combinations looked to have had an understanding on the night. We can only hope that the injury Lambie picked up will not rule him out of contention for the Cheetahs game and that coach John Plumtree will have the opportunity to select yet another unchanged team next weekend.Tweet