Planet Rugby

Sharks maintain top spot

25th September 2009 19:56

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Juan Hernandez kicking Sharks

Juan Hernandez: Made a difference

The Sharks kept themselves top of the Currie Cup log on Friday with a 34-20 win over the Leopards which caused them little sweat.

With a blustery wind mostly at their backs in the first half, only complacency threatened to undo the home team as their early efforts foundered on a plethora of handlng errors.

But Juan Hernandez put his stamp on proceedings, first delivering an excellent round-the-back pass to Andries Strauss for the opener, then making a telling half-break which sent Luzuko Vulindlu on his way in for the opener.

It took a fair bit of time for the second to come, but the second precipitated a shower of tries. A Hernandez surge resulted in a try for Lwazi Mvovo on the other wing.

Andries Strauss grabbed the next two, with the bonus point wrapped up within a half hour. First he got on the end of a Hernandez chip, and then, after some excellent hands out wide, cut a fine line to the corner through the stretched defence.

The momentum was briefly halted by an intecept try for the Leopards from number eight RW Kember, but Jacques Botes restored the normal order of things just before half-time by popping up in support for his side's fifth.

Hernandez found the wind hard to cope with, and could only convert one of the five, not that it mattered.

The second half took an age to get going, but it was sparked into life on the hour mark, when Berndt Theissinger thought he'd scored the Leopards' second incercept try. Instead he was brought back for a knock-on, and within a minute, Albert van den Berg had galloped away for the Sharks' sixth under the sticks, converted by Monty Dumond.

Stefan Terbanche's long looping pass was picked off, legitimately this time, by Jovan Bowles for another Leopards try, converted by Tiedt.

The Leopards kept up the pressure, with the foot right off the gas from the home side, and Theissinger was once again frustrated after being held up over the Sharks' line. Instead, Tiedt kicked a penalty to make it 34-20 with 15 minutes left.

Both sides had chances to score in a frantic finale but neither found the necessary polish to finish them off.

The scorers:

For the Sharks:
Tries: Vulindlu, Mvovo, Strauss 2, Botes, Van den Berg
Cons: Hernandez, Dumond

For the Leopards:
Tries: Kember, Bowles
Cons: Tiedt 2
Pens: Tiedt 2

The Sharks: 15 Stefan Terblanché (c), 14 Luzuko Vulindlu, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Juan Hernandez, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Albert van den Berg, 4 Alistair Hargreaves, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Skipper Badenhorst, 1 Patric Cilliers.
Replacements: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Deon Carstens, 18 Steven Sykes, 19 Keegan Daniel, 20 Rory Kockott, 21 Monty Dumond, 22 Adrian Jacobs.

Leopards: 15 Danie Dames; 14 Jovan Bowles, 13 Deon van Rensburg, 12 Berndt Theissinger, 11 Jan van Zyl; 10 Clayton Durand, 9 Jean Tiedt; 8 RW Kember, 7 Thabo Mamojele, 6 André Swanepoel (c), 5 Draad Linde, 4 Ligtoring Landman, 3 Os van der Walt, 2 Gavin Williamson, 1 Divan Kotzé.
Replacements: 16 Pellow van der Westhuizen, 17 Nardus Lombard, 18 Bennie Adams, 19 Riaan Swanepoel, 20 Chris Erasmus, 21 Neil Jacobs, 22 Bom Samaai.

Referee: Jonathan Kaplan

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