Planet Rugby

Sharks end Canberra drought

31st March 2012 08:25

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Odwa Ndungane in the clear for Sharks

In the clear: Odwa Ndungane

The Sharks moved into the top half of the Super Rugby table after battling past the Brumbies for a 29-26 bonus-point win in Canberra on Saturday.

It had been a long time since the franchise from Durban had won in this Australian city, 1998 to be exact, but they managed to hold on for vital points.

Tries came from Riaan Viljeon (2), Willem Alberts and a second-half length-of-the-field effort from Lwazi Mvovo, which was a key score in the game.

Mvovo's converted try had made the score 29-19 with 18 minutes left and despite the Brumbies' late try from Nic White, they ultimately fell short.

Jesse Mogg scored the other try for the home side while Christian Lealiifano added 16 points from the tee with four penalties and two conversions.

Viljoen went over for his first try in the 22nd minute after good phase play from the Sharks led to Fred Michalak firing out the final pass to his full-back.

The Brumbies replied when Mogg pulled off the try of the day - latching onto a team-mate's pass and delivering a kick-and-chase that bounced perfectly over Odwa Ngundane's head and back into his hands before the line. It was a nice moment after his poor start kicking out of hand.

Viljoen crossed again in the 35th minute to give the Sharks the lead once again before the Brumbies clawed it back before half-time from a penalty from inside centre Lealiifano.

The Sharks returned in top form and when a fumble from Lealiifano occurred close to his own line, Alberts pounced before Michalak added the two to make it 22-16 on 44 minutes. They were looking good, with Jean Deysel and Jacques Botes waiting on the bench.

Lealiifano did reduce the arrears again just before the hour, but then the Sharks opened up a cushion with their fourth try as Mvovo collected the ball from lock Steven Sykes and backed himself to outpace the chasing Brumbies. Michalak converted once again to make it 29-19.

Credit to the Brumbies though, who did not give up the ghost as they looked for a way back into the game with 18 minutes left. And they did get some reward for their spirited efforts as replacement scrum-half White went over for a consolation try to claim the bonus-point.

The scorers:

For Brumbies:
Tries: Mogg, White
Con: Lealiifano 2
Pen: Lealiifano 4

For Sharks:
Tries: Viljeon 2, Alberts, Mvovo
Con: Michalak 3
Pen: Michalak

Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Pat McCabe, 13 Andrew Smith, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Henry Speight, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Ian Prior, 8 Ben Mowen, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Peter Kimlin, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Leon Power, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Ruadhri Murphy.
Replacements: 16 Anthony Hegarty, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Scott Fardy, 19 Ita Vaea, 20 Nic White, 21 Zack Holmes, 22 Joe Tomane.

Sharks: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Tim Whitehead, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Keegan Daniel (c), 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Jandre Marais, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Anton Bresler, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Jacques Botes, 21 Meyer Bosman, 22 Louis Ludik.

Referee: Keith Brown (New Zealand)

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