The Sharks will remain at the top of the Currie Cup standings this weekend after cruising to a 30-14 win over the Pumas in Witbank on Friday.
The Sharks are sure to remain at the top of the Currie Cup standings this weekend after cruising to a 30-14 win over the Pumas in Witbank on Friday.
It took the tournament leaders just twenty minutes to secure the four-try bonus point in a free flowing first half that saw a total a six tries scored.
The visitors were 27-14 ahead at half-time, and increased their lead to 30-14 eight minutes after the restart. But they didn't score again and had only three points to show for their last 60 minutes, despite having the better of exchanges after the break.
The Sharks will be unhappy with their tackling and their handling in the first half after totally controlling the first quarter, with the Pumas having the better of the next 20 minutes.
By half-time the visitors had missed eight tackles and their handling was a little shaky. Their negative play at the breakdown, when the Pumas came back into the game after the first quarter, also saw a series of penalties awarded to the hosts and elicited a caution from the referee.
The Sharks' defence was better in the second half – in which the Pumas had very little of the possession but handling errors remained a concern.
On the upside, Sharks coach John Plumtree will be happy with the scrummaging after a hesitant start by a front row that had to compensate for the freezing of Springboks Beast Mtawarira and Bismarck du Plessis.
The hosts were made to make a lot of tackles but by missing thirteen in the first period alone, they were struggling to compete despite enjoying 54 per cent of the first-half possession.
Flank Jacques Botes was first to cross the whitewash before Pumas fly-half Elgar Watts did the same to leave the scores at 7-all.
Sharks wings Lwazi Mvovo and Odwa Ndungane cruised over before hooker Craig Burden finished under the sticks as the visitors raced ahead.
The Pumas scored just before the half-time hooter when CornÃ© Steenkamp broke off an advancing maul to leave the scores at 27-14 at the break.
The second half was an equally open affair but neither side was able to make that final pass stick. Just three points were scored as Pat Lambie kicked his second penalty of the evening.
For the Sharks:
Tries: Botes, Burden, Mvovo, Ndungane
Cons: Lambie 2
Pens: Lambie 2
For the Pumas:
Tries: Steenkamp, Watts
Cons: Pretorius 2
Pumas: 15 Johan Jackson, 14 Braam Pretorius, 13 Tiaan Marx, 12 Ashwin Scott, 11 Allister Kettledas, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Tian Meyer, 8 Christo le Roux, 7 Torsten van Jaarsveld, 6 CornÃ© Steenkamp, 5 Marius Coetzer, 4 Andries Kruger, 3 Ashley Buys, 2 Hannes Franklin (c), 1 Ronnie Uys.
Replacements: 16 De-Jay Terblanche, 17 Dawie Steyn, 18 Willem Serfontein, 19 Jaco Bouwer, 20 Ricardo Croy, 21 Siviwe Magaba, 22 Sphiwe Sithole.
The Sharks: 15 Stefan Terblanche (c), 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Andries Strauss, 12 Riaan Swanepoel, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Eugene van Staden, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Patric Cilliers.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Michael Rhodes, 19 Skholiwe Ndlovu, 20 Rory Kockott, 21 Andre Pretorius, 22 Luzuko Vulindlu.
Venue: Puma Stadium, Witbank
Referee: Lourens van der Merwe