Sharks bite back at Pumas
Keegan Daniel (Gallo Images)
Durban - The Sharks were given a torrid time by the Ford Pumas before they clinched a hard-fought 33-20 (half-time 14-17) win in their Absa Currie Cup match at Mr Price Kings Park in Durban on Saturday.
For much of the match it did not appear as if the Sharks were the highly-fancied favourites and the Pumas were the team with only one win to their name this season.
The visitors seemed the hungrier of the two teams and they shaded both the tight and loose phases, especially in the first half, while the Sharks were their own worst enemies thanks to a plethora of handling errors and a lack of precision on attack.
At one point the Sharks found themselves trailing by 10 points after 30 minutes of the first half but the hosts finally found a semblance of form to run in five tries to the two from their opponents.
The Pumas opened the scoring thanks to an early long-range penalty from inside centre Tiaan Marx.
But the Sharks took the lead in the 10th minute as hooker Craig Burden went over for his third try of the season.
The combative Burden profited after his captain and eighthman Keegan Daniel took a quick tap penalty five metres from the Pumas’ tryline before Burden muscled his way over under a pile of bodies for a converted try.
But if the highly fancied home side though that they were in for an easy afternoon they received a rude awakening thanks to a superbly crafted try from the visitors.
Lock Marius Coetzer broke through the Sharks’ midfield defence before off-loading to outside centre JW Jonker who drew the last defender to give flyhalf Coenie van Wyk a clear run to the tryline.
Van Wyk converted his own try and in the 29th minute he grabbed his second five-pointer of the match when he intercepted a loose pass from Sharks loosehead prop Dale Chadwick on the Pumas’ 22-metre line before galloping clear for a converted try as the visitors raced into a 17-7 lead.
The Sharks were being worked over by their fired-up opponents but the home side finally clawed their way back into the contest thanks to a splendid try from flank Jean Deysel three minutes before the break.
Deysel collected the ball 15 metres out from the Pumas’ tryline before setting off on a bullocking run which saw the Springbok bash his way past two would-be defenders before Deysel crashed over despite the attentions of two more Pumas’ defenders.
Flyhalf Frederick Michalak converted Deysel’s effort as the Sharks went to the break trailing by three points.
Van Wyk nailed a penalty shortly after the restart as the Pumas moved out to a 20-14 lead but the Sharks finally began to show some signs of life and, in the 50th minute, replacement lock Anton Bresler dived over in the right-hand corner with Daniel featuring prominently in the build-up to the try.
Michalak missed with the difficult conversion attempt but the Sharks had cut the gap to just one point and, in the 63rd minute, they finally regained the lead when replacement flank Jacques Botes picked up a Daniel pass off of his bootlaces before diving over for a converted try.
The Sharks finally wrapped up the victory with seven minutes left in the contest when Botes went over for his second try after superb interplay between the backs and forwards. Scorers:
The Sharks – Tries: Jacques Botes (2), Craig Burden, Jean Deysel, Anton Bresler; Conversions: Frederick Michalak (4).
Ford Pumas – Tries: Coenie van Wyk (2); Conversions: Van Wyk (2); Penalties: Tiaan Marx, Van Wyk.Teams:Sharks:
15. Louis Ludik, 14. Sibusiso Sithole, 13. Stefan Terblanche, 12. Meyer Bosman, 11. Lwazi Mvovo, 10. Frederic Michalak, 9. Conrad Hoffmann, 8. Keegan Daniel (captain), 7. Marcell Coetzee, 6. Jean Deysel, 5. Ross Skeate, 4. Alistair Hargreaves, 3. Wiehahn Herbst, 2. Craig Burden, 1. Dale Chadwick
Substitutes: 16. Kyle Cooper, 17. Eugene van Staden, 18. Anton Bresler, 19. Jacques Botes, 20. Ross Cronje, 21. Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 22. Adrian Jacobs Pumas:
15. MJ Mentz, 14. Wilhelm Hendrik Loock, 13. JW Jonker, 12. Tiaan Marx, 11. Deon Scholtz, 10. Coenie van Wyk, 9. Shaun Venter, 8. Christo le Roux, 7. Jaco Bouwer, 6. Corne Steenkamp (Captain), 5. Marius Coetzer, 4. Rudi Mathee, 3. Ashley Buys, 2. Pellow van der Westhuizen, 1. Dawie Steyn
Substitutes: 16. Torsten van Jaarsveld, 17. Brett Nel, 18. Willem Serfontein, 19. JP Mostert, 20. Hendrik van der Nest, 21. Siviwe Magaba, 22. Johan Jackson