Under 21s back in contention

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks on 24 Sep 2013 at 12:02
Tagged with : , , , , , ,

After slipping a few log places – courtesy of losses against both Western Province and the Lions – the Sharks under 21 side bounced back in fine style on Saturday, recording a bonus point win over Free State to all but assure a semi-final spot.

Etienne Fynn’s team ran in six tries to just one in a 39-16 win which opened up a 6-point lead over Free State in fourth spot on the log; with Western Province running away with matters at the summit, though, the Sharks are well within striking distance of the other home semi-final, with only a single log point separating them from the second-placed Lions.

Saturday’s win belonged to the pack, who put in a huge performance to assuage some of the nightmares caused by their collective no-show at Ellis Park a fortnight before. The first try set the tone, with the Sharks forwards producing a simply monstrous scrum shove, moving the Free Staters back five metres or more and winning the ball against the head, allowing number 8 Guy Alexander to charge over from the base. Fellow forwards Wiehan Hay and Plank Meyer added their own five pointers, ensuring a healthy lead before Free State flanker Henco Venter managed to score his side’s lone try. Hay’s effort was scored on the left wing, after quick ruck ball found the charging lock, while Meyer went over at the back of a post-lineout driving maul shortly after half time.

Venter’s score gave the visitors some confidence though and they narrowed the gap further via a penalty to trail by just four points with around half an hour left to play. The Sharks stepped up a gear once more, though, with another strong scrum yielding a try to fullback Sean Robinson – off a classic 8-9-15 move – in the 63rd minute. With the bonus point thus secured, the Sharks piled on the pain, as first replacement centre Gareth Meikle and then replacement lock Wade Elliott powered over for tries in the final 10 minutes.

The Sharks under 21s will have a somewhat easier game against the Leopards in Durban this weekend, before a challenging fortnight that sees them take on the Blue Bulls (away) and Western Province (at home) in the closing weeks of the competition.

The Sharks under 21: 39 (15) – Tries: Garath Meikle, Guy Alexander, Johan Meyer, Sean Robinson, Wade Elliot, Wiehan Hay. Conversions: Duncan Campbell (2), Robert du Preez. Penalty: Du Preez.
Free State Cheetahs under 21: 16 (6) – Try: Henco Venter. Conversion: Niel Marais. Penalties: Marais (3).

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