It was a case of mission accomplished for the Sharks, who managed to beat Western Province at a soaked Mr Price Kings Park by 16 points, and in the rain and wet managed to keep their cool and score a fourth try to secure the bonus point and stay in touch with the Lions, who sit atop the Currie Cup log.
It took a while for both teams to get used to a wet ball and wetter field, which could have caused a few to drown after a mammoth 200mm+ rain in two days in Durban, with Meyer Bosman and Demetri Catrakilis taking three pointers whenever they can in an attempt to keep the scoreboard moving.
It was the Sharks though who scored first, through stalwart Jacques Botes, which was also the only try of the first half, in a match that made scoring tries almost impossible. Bosman slotted three penalties and Catrakilis four, for a 16 – 12 half time score.
It was in the second half that the match picked up a bit of momentum. The Sharks kept the scoreboard busy, with Bosman slotting a further two penalties, before things started on a downward spiral for the men from the Cape. Jebb Sinclair and Jean Deysel got into a bit of shoving, after which the Canadian decided to floor Deysel, and duly received a straight red card. The TMO was called in to see what went down prior to the punch, which duly saw Deysel get a yellow, and spending ten in the bin.
This seemed to get both teams in try scoring mode, with the Sharks getting over the chalk for their second through Keegan Daniel, before Province hit back with a try from Louis Schreuder. This was the last bit of positive news for Western Province, with Tyrone Holmes getting a straight red card for punching a Shark player (I am not sure who he struck, the TV replay in the stands was terrible), and from the ensuing play, Jacques Botes scored his second try, and the third of the match.
Even though the stadium announcer told the crowd that the fourth try was scored, the team knew that they need one more to secure the five points. They attacked with everything they had, and even though they leaked a try through an interception from Louis Schreuder, eventually got the fourth on the hooter by way of penalty try. One feels though, that even if the penalty try was not given, the Sharks had enough momentum to secure the try anyway. This was after yet another WP player was carded, this time only a yellow card, and the Cape team trying to defend their lines with 12 players on the park.
What I enjoyed most about this game was the fact that the Sharks did not let the dirty play from Province get under their skins, and remained in control to achieve their objective, which was to win and get a bonus point. One feels WP tried to play the game in the same way Griquas did last week, with off the ball matters getting the better of the Sharks in Kimberley, but they were poor in execution, and it cost them three players off the park.
In all honesty, I never got the feeling that the Sharks were going to lose the game, with Meyer Bosman and his magnificent boot keeping the Sharks in the lead for almost the entire game. The pack did a great job in wet conditions, even though I do prefer Monde Hadebe on the park, whereas Dixon is a great bench player, Hadebe just gives the team another dimension.
Negatives from the game, I can only really comment on once I have seen a television replay of the match, as it is hard to make calls from the stands.Tweet