Planet Rugby

Sharks finish with a win

14th May 2010 19:57

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Ryan Kankowski Sharks force 2010

Kankowski: Scored for the Sharks

The Sharks were given a scare but managed to hang on for a 27-22 win over the Western Force to end their Super 14 campaign in Durban on Friday.

The Force have never won in Durban and it wasn't be their night, despite a valiant fight, as the home side outscored their visitors from Perth three tries to one.

The results caps off a strong end to the season for the Sharks, but they still end the tournament in the bottom half of the standings, a far cry from their pre-season ambitions.

The Force can console themselves with having scored one of the tries of the season, a fabulous effort rounded off by Nick Cummins but started by James O'Connor from behind his own posts!

The Force started the match with fire in their bellies, dominating the early exchanges. But it was the Sharks who would open the scoring, striking with their first visit to the visitors' 22 when Lwazi Mvovo gassed down the blind side touchline to touch down in the corner.

Ruan Pienaar's conversion rounded off a great start for the home side but Force scrum-half Brett Sheehan smashed two monster penalties to reduce the gap to a single point after 25 minutes.

Boys-band look-a-like O'Connor then silenced the relatively small local crowd with two more penalties as the Sharks discipline on the floor let them down and the Force moved into a 12-7 lead at the half--hour mark.

The Sharks replied with a massive scrum in front of the posts, setting up number eight Ryan Kankowski, who ran straight over Sheehan to score under the sticks.

Pienaar's conversion was nothing more than a formality as the home side moved back in front.

Pienaar and O'Connor exchanged penalties on the stroke of half-time to send the teams to the sheds with the Sharks leading 17-15.

No doubt Sharks coach John Plumtree didn't mince his words at half-time and the home sided upped their intensity in the second half.

When Jacques Botes muscled his way over from short range of the back of an advancing Sharks pack, it seemed like the Durbanites would cruise to victory.

But O'Connor threw a cat amongst the pigeons on the hour mark, counter attacking from behind his own posts with an audacious run.

110 metres later Nick Cummins finished off the move started by his full-back and the Force where right back in the game going into the final quarter.

Pienaar steadied the ship with another penalty to leave the scores at 27-22 with fifteen minutes left on the clock. That was the last of the scoring as Pienaar missed a final crack at goal.

Man of the match: A strong scrummaging performance from Jannie du Plessis earns our gong, particularly his big shove that set up Kankowski's try.

The scorers

For the Sharks:
Tries:
Mvovo, Kankowski, Botes
Cons: Pienaar 3
Pens: Pienaar 2

For Western Force:
Try:
Cummins
Con: O'Connor
Pens: Sheehan 2, O'Connor 3

Sharks: 15 Patrick Lambie, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Stefan Terblanche, 12 Riaan Swanepoel, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Ruan Pienaar, 9 Rory Kockott, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 John Smit (c), 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Patric Cilliers, 18 Wilhelm Steenkamp, 19 Keegan Daniel, 20 Charl McLeod, 21 Andy Goode, 22 Andries Strauss.

Western Force: 15 James O'Connor, 14 Nick Cummins, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Ryan Cross, 11 Cameron Shepherd, 10 David Hill, 9 Brett Sheehan, 8 Richard Brown, 7 David Pocock, 6 Matt Hodgson, 5 Nathan Sharpe, 4 Ben McCalman, 3 Tim Fairbrother, 2 Ben Whittaker, 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacements:16 Nathan Charles, 17 Matt Dunning, 18 Sam Wykes, 19 Tom Hockings, 20 Justin Turner, 21 Sam Harris, 22 Mark Bartholomeusz.

Referee: Pro Legoete (South Africa)

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