Jean Deysel has lead the Sharks to a 25-23 win over Western Province in an entertaining match at Newlands, in the ABSA Currie Cup.
The Sharks started poorly and seemed to get on the wrong side of ref Louwrens van der Merwe early on, with a slew of baffling penalties going the way of the home side in the first half. A single penalty by Meyer Bosman late in the period was the only reply for the Durbanites, with Tiaan Liebenberg scoring a try to go with 8 points from the boot of Joe Pietersen. WP 13, Sharks 3 at the break and the visitors with it all to do in the second half.
With the wind at his back, though, up stepped Riaan Viljoen, delivering a masterclass performance at flyhalf to which the men in the striped jerseys (all 16 of them) had no answer. First it was a deft chip through that set up a cracking try to Paul Jordaan, then a high, hanging kick-off which saw Craig Burden bustle over for the first of two tries. The second score from Burden took the Sharks out to a 22-16 lead, which they appeared to be holding quite comfortably despite WP pressure, when Jacques Botes was yellow-carded for a silly trip. The resulting loss of oomph upfront, as the Sharks were reduced to seven forwards, saw Province skipper Deon Fourie driven over for a typical lineout-maul try and Province were back in front by a point, with just a few minutes left to play.
Not that our man Tjoppie was to be dismayed, though, coolly slotting the drop goal that sealed the win almost straight away, along with making so many of the crucial tackles that kept Province scoreless as the minutes ticked down to an unlikely Sharks victory.
Scorers: WP (23): Tries: Liebenberg, Fourie. Conversions: Pietersen (2). Penalties: Pietersen (3).
Sharks (25): Tries Jordaan, Burden (2). Conversions: Bosman (2). Penalty: Bosman. Drop-Goal: Viljoen