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    Stormers pip Sharks

    2012-03-03 20:52
    Cape Town - Peter Grant marked his return to Super Rugby with a matchwinning penalty for the Stormer,s who edged the Sharks 15-12 in their clash at Newlands on Saturday evening.

    Only a few days ago flyhalf Grant returned to Cape Town after a club rugby stint in Japan and he engineered his side's escape, when the match seemed headed for a 12-all draw, with a penalty two minutes from the end.

    The visiting Sharks wasted no time in taking the game to the Stormers with a brand of high-risk rugby, straight from the kick-off and the Stormers' defence faced a few testing situations early on.

    The Sharks' territorial advantage in the opening 11 minutes did not cause too much damage for the Stormers who surrendered two penalties, one of which was converted by flyhalf Pat Lambie (3-0).

    The Stormers seemed to ride this Sharks wave with patience before they managed to wrest the initiative and their build-up moves looked far more threatening. They also failed to crack the defence but their fullback Joe Pietersen snapped two penalties in quick succession, starting in the 14th minute, to give them a 6-3 lead.

    The Sharks managed to regroup and their penetrative sorties were thrice held up on the Stormers' tryline and again they had to settle for a Lambie three-pointer midway through the first half, when their efforts were worth considerably more (6-6).

    The Sharks' territorial advantage persisted into the final 10 minutes of first-half play, and after Lambie hit the upright with a 53-metre penalty attempt from inside his own half, he was on target from the Stormers' 22-metre line to secure the Sharks a 9-6 advantage at the break.

    The Stormers returned with a far greater sense or urgency about their play and their early second-half play had an element of adventure about it.

    Substitute Peter Grant joined the fray in the 48th minute at the expense of No 10 Gary van Aswegen, and the Stormers' backline immediately produced a fair amount of variation when they probed the Sharks defensive lines.

    Pietersen atoned for earlier lapses with a 55th minute penalty when the Stormers' pressure started to take its toll and at nine-all Pietersen hashed a another goalable attempt, just on the hour mark, when the Sharks were reduced to 14 players, with lock Ross Skeate in the sin bin.

    The indiscretion earned the Stormers a penalty which Pietersen converted to edge the home side ahead 12-9.

    As the match wound towards the final quarter, the Stormers started imposing themselves on the set-pieces and their cause was boosted by a number of errors which crept into the Sharks' game.

    However, their finishing was far from satisfactory and their efforts in the closing stages were not enough to defend their slender three-point lead, which Lambie erased with a 74th minute penalty (12-12).

    Although the Stormers continued to hold the upper hand in the ensuing minutes, their efforts couldn't realise a try, but Grant stepped up two minutes from the end to slot over a penalty from the touchline to snatch a 15-12 victory for his side.

    Scorers:

    Stormers:Penalties: Joe Pietersen (4), Peter Grant

    Sharks: Penalties: Patrick Lambie (4)

    Teams:

    Stormers:
    15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers (captain), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Gary van Aswegen, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Nick Koster, 7 Duane Vermeulen, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Steven Kitshoff

    Substitutes: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Frans Malherbe, 18 De Kock Steenkamp, 19 Nizaam Carr, 20 Louis Schrueder, 21 Peter Grant, 22 Gerhard van den Heever

    Sharks:
    15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Louis Ludik, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Frederic Michalak, 8 Keegan Daniel (captain), 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Ross Skeate, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Dale Chadwick

    Substitutes: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Jannie du Plessis, 18 Anton Bresler, 19 Lubabalo Mtembu, 20 Charl McLeod, 21 Marius Joubert, 22 Paul Jordaan

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