Sharks relieved with win
Brad Macleod-Henderson (Gallo Images)
Kimberley - It might not have been their best rugby of the season, but Sharks' coach Brad McLeod-Henderson declared himself a happy man after his side broke their poor run of form in Kimberley on Saturday by beating Griquas 25-24 in a Currie Cup encounter.
It was the first time in three years that the Durban outfit has managed a Currie Cup victory in the City of Diamonds, and although it was not a spectacular performance, McLeod-Henderson was delighted to walk away with the win.
"It was never going to be easy to beat Griquas at home, as our previous encounters in Kimberley have reminded us," he said after the game.
"And this afternoon we again struggled.
"We held on for a victory and will take that momentum with us back to Durban.
"In the end, that is all that matters."
The game was plagued by ill-discipline and both Griquas and the Sharks got ample chance to score penalties.
The hosts enjoyed a half time lead of 17-11, courtesy of flyhalf Francois Brummer, who received more opportunities at goal than his Sharks counterpart Butch James.
However, the visitors capitalised from a comedy of errors by Griquas and scored the winning try after a yellow card left the hosts a man short.
"There were a lot of errors on the day and there are many aspects that we will work on this week before we host the Free State Cheetahs in Durban next Saturday," McLeod-Henderson said.
"We have the momentum and will take that and build on it. The Cheetahs are going to be another tough challenge after they beat the Golden Lions and will travel with their tails up to Durban for this weekend's match up."
Griquas were left baffled at their inability to capitalise on a half-time lead of six points, coupled with a good try by flanker Burger Schoeman shortly after the start of the second half, which put them even further ahead.
Schoeman's try in the second period would prove to be their only points of that stanza, while the Sharks managed to score 14 points.
Griquas' coach Pote Human admitted that his side had failed to take advantage of their lead, which allowed their visitors to find their feet.
"We didn't play for 80 minutes. It is as simple as that. We built up a pretty good lead after Burger Schoeman scored, but after that we decided to defend it rather than build on it," Human said.
"Our discipline let us down once again, even after we worked so hard on it during the week."
Things don't get any easier for Griquas, who have a short week of preparation before they take on log-leaders Western Province in Cape Town on Friday evening.
The Peacock Blues will travel without fullback PJ Vermeulen and lock Victor Kruger, both ruled out due to injury.
"Both PJ and Victor will be operated on, but their initial prognosis isn't very good," Human said.
"The chances are remote that either of them will play any further part in this year's competition. It is another blow for us injury wise, after we have already lost so many stalwarts early in the season."