Sharks fall short in Sydney
Sydney - The Waratahs put their season firmly back on track by coming from behind to beat a tiring Sharks side 34-30 in an entertaining Super Rugby encounter at the Sydney Football Stadium on Saturday.
Coming off two successive defeats, the Waratahs trailed the South Africans 24-13 early in the second half with their season threatening to implode before it had really begun.
Tries from fullback Bernard Foley and pugnacious centre Tom Carter in five minutes approaching the hour mark got them back in the contest, however, and winger Tom Kingston crossed the line four minutes from time to clinch the bonus-point win.
The Sharks had the better of the first half and scored tries through wing Lwazi Mvovo, number eight Keegan Daniel and hooker Bismarck du Plessis but faded in the Sydney sunshine as the long journey from South Africa began to take its toll.
"I'm over the moon," Waratahs skipper Benn Robinson said in a pitchside interview. "This team delivers under pressure all the time. It's been hard for us the last three or four weeks but we've stuck together and stayed strong."
Both teams tried to run the ball from all parts of the pitch but it was the visitors who got the first try in the third minute when Mvovo was set free to sprint to the line by impressive centre Meyer Bosman.
Waratahs scrumhalf Brendan McKibbin scored all of his team's points in the first half with the first try, which he converted, as well as two penalties.
The Sharks used the rolling maul effectively throughout the match and it was from catch and drives that skipper Daniel and Bismarck du Plessis crossed for tries either side of the break to give them an 11 point lead.
Even after Foley and Carter had scored their tries to put the home side 27-24 ahead, Sharks flyhalf Pat Lambie pegged them back with two penalties.
But the Waratahs would not be denied and a rampaging run from lock Dean Mumm got them into Shark territory and unrelenting pressure left space for Kingston to skip over in the corner with Berrick Barnes adding the extras from the touchline.
"We thought we had the game in the bag the way we were playing but all credit to them, they came back and won it," said Daniel.
The Waratahs picked up a full-house of five points for their victory and moved to second in the Australian Conference standings and into seventh position in the Overall log.
The Sharks picked up a single point for losing by seven or fewer points and stayed third in the South African Conference, but dropped to eighth overall.
In next weekend's Round 6 action, the Sharks travel to Canberra to face the Brumbies, while the Waratahs play the Chiefs in Hamilton.
15 Bernard Foley, 14 Tom Kingston, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Tom Carter 11 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 10 Berrick Barnes, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Dave Dennis, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson (captain)
Substitutes (from): John Ulugia, Paddy Ryan, Sitaleki Timani, Lopeti Timani, Jono Jenkins, Sarel Pretorius, Daniel Halangahu, Peter Betham, Brackin Kauraria-Henry
15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Tim Whitehead, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Keegan Daniel (captain), 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Jandre Marais, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Dale Chadwick
Substitutes: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Nick Schonert, 18 Steven Sykes, 19 Jacques Botes, 20 Frederic Michalak, 21 Marius Joubert, 22 Louis Ludik