Vodacom Super 14
Chiefs pip Sharks
Durban - Chiefs flyhalf Stephen Donald sunk a last minute penalty to give his
team a dramatic 19-18 win over the Sharks in their Vodacom Super 14
match in Durban.
After the lead changed hands three times in the last five minutes, the Chiefs were given the dramatic penalty by referee Keith Brown a minute after he awarded the Sharks a similar kick which looked to have given the home side victory.
In tough conditions where handling was difficult because of 32 degree heat and constant rain during the game, both sides struggled throughout with the new interpretations of the laws – a factor that contributed as well to an indifferent first 60 minutes.
Yet it all came alive in the last quarter, as the Chiefs found their spark, and both sides searched for points as they attempted to spread the ball in the weather.
While the Sharks will be disappointed with the loss, they will also have to cast an eye on their own discipline after captain John Smit and hooker Bismarck du Plessis both received yellow cards, and Willem Alberts was lucky not to receive one for an off the ball shoulder charge.
With the boot of Rory Kockott – who scored all 18 points on the evening, and the defensive prowess of winger JP Pietersen, the Sharks kept their nose in front for most of the game.
Pietersen twice stopped certain tries with exceptional tackles – the first when he grappled Mike Delany close to the line and the second when he forced Tim Nanai-Williams out in the corner before he could dot the ball down.
But even the winger couldn’t stop the Chiefs a third time, and caught in defence five metres from his own line, Pietersen was pinned for holding onto the ball. Chiefs captain Liam Messam took the quick tap, and the eventual movement down the backline ended with midfielder Jackson Willison easily crossing the chalk.
Flyhalf Stephen Donald, who scored 14 points on the night, put over the conversion to take the lead for the first time in the match with only three minutes left on the clock.
Then from the restart, the Chiefs were penalized for obstruction when Richard Kahui impeded a chasing Ryan Kankowski and Kockott retook the lead with his sixth penalty.
The Chiefs were rampant from the restart and took the Sharks ruck on, disrupting the ball with Kockott fumbling under pressure. Steven Sykes picked up the ball in desperation and was in front of his scrumhalf, giving away the match-winning penalty.
Donald stepped up to silence the shocked crowd, snaffling another away victory in a dramatic first weekend of 2010 Super 14 rugby.ScorersSharks
– penalties: Rory Kockott (6)Chiefs
– try: Jackson Willison. Conversion: Stephen Donald. Penalties: Donald (4)