Planet Rugby

Sharks maintain their winning ways

29th March 2008 16:50

Share:

David Croft is in fine fettle

Lost cause: David Croft was in superb form despite ending up on the losing side

The Sharks maintained their one hundred per cent record in this year's Super 14 with a hard earned 22-10 victory over the Reds in Durban on Saturday.

With the game locked at 10-10 after an hour the home side's pressure finally told as they scored two quick tries to keep up the pressure on the Crusaders at the top of the table. But it was never a game they could relax in as an enterprising Reds side made them work hard from start to finish.

In fact the Sharks spent the bulk of the first half in defence as the Reds through everything at their hosts. Quade Cooper eased his side around the field well, and Chris Latham was a constant threat with ball in hand.

Despite their early promise it was the Sharks who drew first blood, thanks to a Stefan Terblanche drop goal. With Chris Pollock playing advantage for offside Terblanche sent over a fine snap drop goal, although it did little to dampen the Reds' spirit. David Croft and Ben Lucas were at the heart of the Reds best rugby, but try as they may they could not get the finishing touch they needed to score.

And it was the Reds' inability to finish moves that cost them a try. Cooper, after a dazzling piece e of skill sent Chris Latham flying into the Sharks' twenty-two, although the great full-back could not hold the ball. Fifteen seconds later and the Sharks had scored. JP Pietersen kicked long, John Roe made a hash of the clearance and Pietersen was able to gather and send Odwa Ndungane under the posts.

With only a Clinton Schifcofske penalty to show for their efforts the Reds were in danger of losing sight of their hosts, although Croft's try on the stroke of half time changed all of that. The Sharks lost their own line-out on their own twenty-two and the Reds made them pay.

Croft took the ball and sent it wide to Cooper, two quick phases later and Croft was on hand to finish in the corner. The concern for the Sharks will be that Croft beat Pietersen on the outside for pace. Schifcofske added a fine conversion and the Reds went into half time on level terms.

The second half was an arm wrestle as the Sharks looked to wear the Reds down. It took twenty minutes but eventually the visitors could not hold anymore as Terblanche added a try to his earlier drop goal. Rory Kockott snipped down the blindside where he found Ndungane in support, who in turn sent the ball back inside to Terblanche for an easy finish.

One sensed that score knocked the life out of the Reds, and even if it hadn't Bismarck du Plessis' effort five minutes later did. Three tight drives for the line yielded nothing, that was until du Plessis spotted a gap and nudged over for the score that sealed the game.

Credit to the Reds for continuing to push for a bonus-point score but they could not break the Sharks defence. The result means it is now a two-horse race between the Sharks and the Crusaders for top spot, although one heavily favours the side from New Zealand to maintain their position at the top. With the two sides still to play each other we are in for a thrilling climax at the top end of the table.

Man of the Match: David Croft was superb in a losing cause, as was Chris Latham. Ben Lucas showed he is more than capable of filling the number nine jersey and Quade Cooper showed some nice touches. Francois Steyn was full of running, although he lacked a little control at fly-half. However it was Jacques Botes' all-action display that stole this award.

Moment of the Match: The arrival of Rory Kockott at scrum-half in the second half. Ruan Pienaar tried but could not find that spark to break the Reds. However Kockott's extra pace and zest was enough to swing this game to the home side.

Villain of the Match: Thankfully we will keep hold of this award after a nice clean game.

The Scorers:

For Sharks:

Tries: Ndungane, Terblanche, B. du Plessis

Cons: Pienaar, Kockott

Drop goal: Terblanche

For Reds:

Try: Croft

Con: Schifcofske

Pen: Schifcofske

The Teams:

Sharks: 15 Stefan Terblanche, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Bradley Barritt, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Francois Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Jacques Botes, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Johann Muller (c), 4 AJ Venter, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.

Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 BJ Botha, 18 Albert van den Berg, 19 Steven Sykes, 20 Epi Taione, 21 Rory Kockott, 22 Frédéric Michalak.

Reds: 15 Chris Latham (c), 14 Clinton Schifcofske, 13 Morgan Turinui, 12 Berrick Barnes, 11 Peter Hynes, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Ben Lucas, 8 Leroy Houston, 7 David Croft, 6 John Roe, 5 James Horwill, 4 Van Humphries, 3 Dayna Edwards, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Greg Holmes.

Replacements: 16 Sean Hardman, 17 Rodney Blake, 18 Ed O'Donoghue, 19 Poutasi Luafutu, 20 Will Genia, 21 Charlie Fetoai, 22 Digby Ioane.

Referee: Chris Pollock (New Zealand)

Touch judges: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand), Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)

Television match official: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)

Assessor: Dennis Immelman (South Africa)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster vs SaracensMunster vs Saracens Preview
Saturday , October 25
Ulster vs ToulonUlster vs Toulon Preview
Scarlets vs LeicesterScarlets vs Leicester Preview
Bath vs ToulouseBath vs Toulouse Preview
Montpellier vs GlasgowMontpellier vs Glasgow Preview
Northampton vs OspreysNorthampton vs Ospreys Preview
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale SharksClermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks Preview
Castres vs LeinsterCastres vs Leinster Preview
Wasps vs HarlequinsWasps vs Harlequins Preview
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92 Preview
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Friday , October 24
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Newcastle19:30
Edinburgh vs LOU Rugby19:45
Saturday , October 25
Bucuresti vs Stade Francais14:00
Rovigo vs Cardiff Blues14:00
Exeter vs ConnachtExeter vs Connacht Preview
Oyonnax vs Gloucester19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , October 25
Western Province vs LionsWestern Province vs Lions Preview
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Saturday , October 25
Taranaki vs TasmanTaranaki vs Tasman Preview
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Friday , October 24
Grenoble 15 - 25 London Irish
Brive 21 - 26 Zebre
La Rochelle 25 - 13 Bayonne
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh 20 - 52 Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
Saracens 30 - 23 Clermont AuvergneSaracens vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 NorthamptonRacing Metro 92 vs Northampton Report
Glasgow 37 - 10 BathGlasgow vs Bath Report
Leicester 25 - 18 UlsterLeicester vs Ulster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
LOU Rugby 28 - 18 London WelshLOU Rugby vs London Welsh Report
Zebre 24 - 33 Oyonnax
Cardiff Blues 37 - 14 Grenoble
Stade Francais 22 - 38 Newport Gwent D'gons
Bayonne 30 - 24 Exeter
Connacht 48 - 12 La Rochelle
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Lions 50 - 20 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Western Province 31 - 23 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 49 - 30 AucklandTaranaki vs Auckland Report
Manawatu 23 - 18 Southland
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615