It may have taken them a while to really get going, but the Sharks hit their straps and scored eight great tries in a 50-19 demolition of the Pumas in Nelspruit on Friday evening.
John Plumtree, who expressed his frustration earlier in the week at both the lack of quality opposition afforded by the Leoaprds in the previous warm-up fixture, as well as the injury toll coming out of the game, will have been a lot happier with proceedings last night; not only did the Sharks face a fired-up and competitive Pumas outfit, they managed to escape the Kanyamazane intact, with no fresh injury concerns ahead of next week’s Super Rugby opener against the Cheetahs.
The first half saw the Sharks and Pumas trade blows, with the visitors scoring four ties to the hosts’ two. Veterean flanker Jacques Botes, himself a former Puma, did the bulk of the damage, scoring twice for the Sharks, while Louis Ludik and Marcel Coetzee added the first and fourth tries respectively. At 26-14 ahead at the break, the Sharks will have felt that they gave a good showing, but also would have rued the defensive lapses that allowed the Pumas in.
The second period went better, with unanswered tries by Botes (again), Coetzee (again) and then a brace from Paul Jordaan within the space of minutes, seeing the men from Durban race out to a 50-14 lead. A late consolation from the hosts saw the final score stand at 50-19.
Pumas (19) : Tries Uzair Cassiem (2), Stefan Watermeyer. Conversions Tiaan Marx (2).
Sharks (50): Tries Louis Ludik, Jacques Botes (3), Marcel Coetzee (2), Paul Jordaan (2). Conversions Pat Lambie (3), Meyer Bosman (2)Tweet