Sunwolves keep Sharks honest

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 18 Jul 2016 at 09:38
Tagged with : , , , , ,

The Sharks booked a spot in the Super Rugby quarter-finals by recording a 40-29 win over the Sunwolves at Kings Park on Friday night; Mark Hammett’s side scrapped to the end, though and ensured that the home side never had a chance to take their foot off the accelerator.

While the Sharks eventually outscored their visitors by six tries to four, it was the competition new boys who arguably took the most out of the game, showing just how much they have improved over the course of a long maiden season at this level. There was no evidence of the Sunwolves team that conceded 90 points against the Cheetahs earlier in the year; rather, the Sharks found themselves facing the sort of performance that saw the Stormers lucky to escape with a draw against these opponents.

Coenie Oosthuizen got the team on board early, with a strong series of forward drives in Sunwolves territory resulting in a try for the under-fire prop in just the fourth minute. Garth April’s conversion was good and the pressure mounted on the visitors just three minutes later as Lwazi Mvovo sprinted through to score a second, after a good break by Andre Esterhuizen. With 14 points on the board after just seven minutes, it was all looking way too easy, but that was to be the last time that the Sharks would feel comfortable for a fair while.

The old malaise of poor discipline and dodgy game management came back to haunt the Sharks, with the resulting increase in possession and territory giving the visitors confidence. A simple training ground move came off for them in the 14th minute, with scrumhalf Kaito Shigeno scampering over for a try after their forwards had split a lineout. The Sharks rallied to score a stunner through JP Pietersen soon afterwards, but it was perhaps significant that, unlike the first two tries which had been constructed off an attacking platform in opposition territory, the third came off a long range counter attack started deep in the 22 by Rhyno Smith. The Sharks, bafflingly, continued to hand over possession willy-nilly to the hard running Sunwolves and with inside centre Mifiposeti Paea, in particular, making huge ground every time he touched the ball, it wasn’t long before the hosts were under pressure again. Paea himself scored a second try for the Sunwolves three minutes from the break, with lock forward Faatiga Lemalu crashing over for a third on the stroke of half time. What had looked like a certain rout earlier was now a game in the balance, with the Sharks leading just 21-19 at half time.

Esterhuizen, who was easily the best Sharks back on the day, powered over for his second Super Rugby try immediately after the resumption, with April’s conversion adding some daylight. Yu Tamara brought the Sunwolves back without touching distance via a penalty and the team proceeded to exchange blows for the next 20 minutes without much in the line of constructive rugby form either side. It was April himself who finally broke the deadlock, combining well with Odwa Ndungane down the right hand flank to score a lovely try ten minutes from time. The biggest Sharks cheer on the night, though, was reserved for rookie Curwin Bosch, who followed through on an April chip five minutes later to score his first of many points at this level.

Now leading 40-22 and with a bonus point in the bag, the Sharks fianlly looked comfortable, but again it was the Wolves who had the last say, with the ever-present Paea crashing over for a late try that left the score at 40-29. It was just that sort of game, for the Sharks, who now need to dig deep for their upcoming quarter-final.

Sharks (40): Tries C Oosthuizen, Mvovo, Pietersen, Esterhuizen, April, Bosch. Conversions April (6).
Sunwolves (29): Tries Shigano, Paea (2), Lemalu. Conversions Tamura (3). Penalty Tamura


  • The way the Sharks played in the first 7 minutes or so is the way they should play the game for the full 80. Unfortunately poor discipline and a lack of conditioning meant that they could not sustain that.

  • Comment 1, posted at 18.07.16 09:48:03 by SheldonK Reply
  • @SheldonK (Comment 1) : I wonder how many posts you have said this…is it now permanently on your clipboard? πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

  • Comment 2, posted at 18.07.16 09:57:55 by Kabouter Reply
  • @Kabouter (Comment 2) : Seems it relates to a lot of articles πŸ™‚ Or maybe im just subconsciously laying down a blueprint for next year πŸ˜‰

  • Comment 3, posted at 18.07.16 10:05:17 by SheldonK Reply
  • It was not a convincing performance by the Sharks by any means, and we really going to have to improve if we want to go any further. Apart from the poor discipline it was the continued unexplainable desire to aimlessly kick our ball away gifting possession to the opposition that continues to undermine the Sharks game (unfortunately April being the main culprit in this regard)

    Having said all of this, I must admit that at the beginning of the season I did not think that we would play ourselves into the playoffs, so hats off to the boys for making it this far.

  • Comment 4, posted at 18.07.16 11:29:06 by stevovo Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
  • One thing that was missed by the refs and the supersport panel was that the sunwolves went overthe 15 before the ball was thrown in for the lineout try. Else Sharks need to man up now

  • Comment 5, posted at 18.07.16 12:13:30 by Dunx Reply

  • @Dunx (Comment 5) : I must admit i missed that timing too. Odwa should have been defending that zone but was a bit asleep.

  • Comment 6, posted at 18.07.16 12:41:24 by SheldonK Reply


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