Planet Rugby

Hat-trick win for Sharks

05th March 2011 06:23

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Mission accomplished: Steven Sykes celebrates his Sharks try

The Sharks made it three from three in the 2011 edition of Super Rugby after sweeping past the Western Force 39-12 in Perth on Saturday.

The South Africans got their tour of Australasia off to a flying start after running in five tries, whilst keeping their defensive record in tact at not having conceded a single try thus far in the tournament.

The writing was on the wall for the home side as early as the fifth minute when centre Mitch Inman was forced from the field with a dislocated elbow. The Force then lost star flanker David Pocock after sustaining an injury in the lead-up to the Sharks' opening try.

A double blow - well, a triple blow if you include the try that came off a dropped pass from Inman's replacement Rory Sidey. Sharks wing Odwa Ndungane was quick to pounce on the loose ball when he hacked ahead and went over for a well-taken touchdown against the run of play.

It got even worse for the Western Force.

A tip tackle on Ndungane in the 17th minute of the match by Sidey earned the substitute a red card, which meant his team-mates would have to soldier on with 14 men. It wasn't good news for the Sharks either as Ndungane was stretchered off the field.

The visitors were quick to take advantage and were celebrating their second try of the match after hooker Bismarck du Plessus emerged from a pile of bodies following a line-out and drive from 10m out.

Force pivot James O'Connor kept his side in the hunt with three penalties, but whenever it seemed the Force were back in contention, the Sharks pulled away with another five-pointer.

This time it was lock Steven Sykes who went over after picking up a pass from replacement wing Lwazi Mvovo that went to ground and couldn't believe his luck as he had a clear run-through to the whitewash.

At half-time, the Sharks looked comfortable with a 19-9 half-time lead.

Sharks pivot Patrick Lambie and O'Connor traded penalties after the break, and once again the Force looked capable of pulling off a super comeback with the visitors guilty of ill-discipline and loose play.

Mvovo was denied twice after running in 50m and 80m for what appeared to be superb solo tries - only to be called back for a forward pass and an earlier offsides penalty by one of his team-mates.

However, the Sharks gained the ascendancy in the final 20 minutes.

First Bok flank Willem Alberts powered over to secure a four-try bonus point. The Force were then dealt a further blow when wing Nick Cummins was yellow-carded for a late tackle on full-back Louis Ludik.

And against thirteen players in the dying seconds, Lambie scored the Sharks' fifth and final try to seal a comprehensive win. Mission accomplished!

The scorers:

For Western Force:
Pens: O'Connor 4

For Sharks:
Tries: Ndungane, Bismarck Du Plessis, Sykes, Alberts, Lambie
Cons: Lambie 4
Pens: Lambie 2

Western Force: 15 Cameron Shepherd, 14 Nick Cummins, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Gene Fairbanks, 11 David Smith, 10 James O'Connor, 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 Tevita Metuisela, 20 James Stannard, 21 Alfie Mafi, 22 Rory Sidey.

Sharks: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Stefan Terblanche (c), 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements:16 Craig Burden, 17 John Smit, 18 Anton Bresler, 19 Jacques Botes, 20 Conrad Hoffmann, 21 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 22 Lwazi Mvovo.

Referee: Keith Brown (New Zealand)

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