The Sharks bagged a vital five points courtesy of a 33-20 Currie Cup success over the Pumas in Durban on Saturday.
The Sharks bagged a vital five points courtesy of a 33-20 win over the Pumas in Durban on Saturday.
John Plumtree's men required a try in injury time to beat the Pumas in the first round fixture in Witbank, and the men from Durban once again struggled to overcome their less fancied opponents.
In what was a game strewn with errors but also filled with a willingness from both sides to spread the ball around, an improved second-half showing proved enough for the hosts to claim the victory.
It appeared the Pumas were in for a long day at the office when a knock-on from them kick-off resulted in a powerful Sharks attack, but rather it was the visitors who made the best of the early running.
The Sharks were the first to cross the whitewash, though, with hooker Craig Burden barging over the line in the eleventh minute. A quick tap gone wrong from Keegan Daniel saw the flanker grubbering the ball ahead, luckily for the skipper, Burden was on hand to collect and burrow over.
What followed was a period of dominance from the Pumas – on the scoreboard at least.
First second rower Marius Coetzer broke through the Sharks defence, shifting the ball to JW Jonker who in turn drew in the final defender before off-loading to Coenie van Wyk who crossed over for the score.
Van Wyk was on the scoreboard not long after, snapping an intercept on his own 22 metre line and sprinting through for the score. The fly-half could have had his third before the break but knocked on with the line at his mercy.
It was the Sharks who did score late in the first period, though, with the men in black working the ball through the phases from a line-out on the 22 metre line before Jean Deysel barged over for the score.
The Sharks upped the tempo in the second half, with backs and forwards combining well as the home side moved the ball through the phases with good consistency.
However, errors and ill-discipline meant it was only in the 50th minute that they managed to claim a third try, with replacement lock Anton Bresler rounding off a great team build-up.
Jacques Botes came off the bench to grab a brace of tries as the Sharks extended their lead in the final quarter. It was no easy matter, though, with the Pumas proving worthy opponents with a solid defence and hard working unit.
For the Sharks:
Tries: Burden, Deysel, Bresler, Botes 2
Cons: Michalak 4
For the Pumas:
Tries: Van Wyk 2
Cons: Van Wyk 2
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 (c), 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Jean Deysel, 5 Ross Skeate, 4 Alistair Hargreaves, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Replacements: 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, 5 Marius Coetzer, 4 Rudi Mathee, 3 Ashley Buys, 2 Pellow van der Westhuizen, 1 Dawie Steyn
Replacements: 16 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 17 Brett Nel, 18 Willem Serfontein, 19 JP Mostert, 20 Hendrik van der Nest, 21 Siviwe Magaba, 22 Johan Jackson.
Referee: Jaco Peyper