Sharks graft for bonus point win

16th Aug 2014, 15:56

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Captain's try: Tera Mtembu

Captain's try: Tera Mtembu

Currie Cup champions the Sharks were made to work for a 34-17 victory over the Pumas, snatching a late try bonus point.

Currie Cup champions the Sharks were made to work for a 34-17 victory over the Pumas, snatching a late try bonus point.

The final score actually flattered the Sharks when taking into context the entire match, with the Pumas enjoying a good share of territory but unable to make their chances count.

Pat Lambie was given 25 minutes to improve his fitness while former England international prop Matt Stevens came off the bench.

The Pumas had the perfect start through a try from Frikkie Spies in the opening minutes, for a 7-6 lead that they carried through until half-time following Justin van Staden's conversion.

Spies was noticeably effective with his carrying throughout the opening 40 minutes as the Pumas subdued the home crowd, relying on the boots of Van Staden and scrum-half Reynier van Rooyen for territory.

The men from Mpumalanga also held firm in defence to repel a number of attacks from the Sharks, with Fred Zeilinga's hashed drop goal attempt after 15 phases epitomising their growing frustration.

The story was different however after the interval, with the Sharks flying out of the blocks and taking the lead for the first time as SP Marais crashed over in the corner.

The full-back had spoken openly in the week about his confidence being dented earlier the year in Super Rugby, but this was a fine finish after his forwards did the hard work upfront to fix the defence and get the Sharks behind the advantage line.

JC Roos came off the bench to cut the Sharks lead to three with an easy penalty, before the home side were left feeling the nerves once more as Marco Wentzel was sent to the bin following multiple team warnings.

Spirited throughout, the Pumas made their hosts pay with a second try, this time coming from Renaldo Bothma.

The 24-year-old did well to scoop up the loose ball and then crash past Tonderai Chavhanga to score in the corner after confirmation from the TMO.

How much longer the Pumas could keep upsetting the script was up for debate, as they kept the pressure on the Sharks by pinning them deep in their own half.

A 46th try in the Currie Cup for the competition's record appearance holder, Jacques Botes, calmed the nerves of the King's Park crowd as the Sharks' maul proved too powerful to stop. Lambie make no mistake with the conversion.

It was easy to spot Lambie's touch of class when he produced a perfect kick to the corner, forcing the Pumas into panic in a passage the ended with a try for skipper Teru Mtembu as the Pumas defence caved.

In the end the Pumas couldn't keep up the fight, with replacement hooker Monde Hadebe well placed for his try and the Sharks' fourth to clinch a hard-fought win over their visitors.

The scorers:

For Sharks:
Tries: Marais, Botes, Mtembu, Hadebe
Cons: Zeilinga, Lambie 3
Pens: Zeilinga 2
Yellow Card: Wentzel

For Pumas:
Tries: Spies, Bothma
Cons: Van Staden, Roos
Pen: Roos

Sharks: 15 SP Marais, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 S'bura Sithole, 12 Paul Jordaan, 11 Tonderai Chavhanga, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Tera Mtembu (c), 7 Ettienne Oosthuizen, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Marco Wentzel, 4 JC Astle, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Thomas du Toit.
Replacements: 16 Monde Hadebe, 17 Matt Stevens, 18 Johan Meyer, 19 Francois Kleinhans, 20 Hanco Venter, 21 Patrick Lambie, 22 Lionel Cronje.

Pumas: 15 JW Bell, 14 Ruwellyn Isbell, 13 JW Jonker, 12 Stefan Watermeyer, 11 Jerome Pretorius, 10 Justin van Staden, 9 Reynier van Rooyen, 8 Renaldo Bothma, 7 Jaco Bouwer, 6 Corne Steenkamp (c), 5 Giant Mtyanda, 4 Frikkie Spies, 3 DeJay Terblanche, 2 Francois du Toit, 1 Vincent Koch.
Replacements: 16 Frank Herne, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Marius Coetzer, 19 Uzair Cassiem, 20 Rosko Specman, 21 JC Roos, 22 Heinrich Steyl.

Referee: Christie du Preez
Assistant Referees: Lesego Legoete, Cwengile Jadezweni
TMO: Willie Vos