Sharks scrape past Pumas

Date published: September 5 2015

The Sharks overturned a half-time deficit to edge the Pumas 27-26 in a nail-biting Currie Cup clash in Durban on Saturday.

It wasn't plain saling and the result was in the balance until its closing stages when a late penalty from Joe Pietersen clinched victory for the home side.

The Sharks outscored the visitors by three tries to two as both sides showed a willingness to run the ball which made for an entertaining spectacle.

The home side lost their way midway through the second half when they committed too many unforced errors – especially at the breakdowns – but they showed plenty of character to launch a fightback during the game's latter stages.

The Sharks did most of the early attacking and Cobus Reinach gave Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer a reminder of what he'll miss at the upcoming World Cup when he set up the opening try. 

After a sniping break, Reinach delivered a pass out of the back of his hand to Wandile Mjekevu who got over in the right-hand corner.

The Pumas struck back when Marius Coetzer barged through the middle of a ruck, close to the Sharks' tryline, and dived over for their first try.

The Sharks suffered a setback shortly afterwards when Reinach was yellow carded for tackling Faf de Klerk inside the 10 metres after the Pumas scrum-half took a tap penalty close to the Sharks' 10-metre line.

JC Roos made the Sharks pay for that indiscretion by adding a penalty but Pietersen drew the hosts level at 10-10 from the kicking tee, after the Pumas strayed offside on defence.

Roos then restored his side's three-point lead when he added another penalty on the stroke of half-time, after the Sharks' were penalised for a scrum indiscretion.

The second half started badly for the Pumas when, three minutes after the restart, Jacques Momberg was sent to the sin-bin for using his boot to Reinach's face at a ruck.

The Sharks made their numerical advantage count when Paul Jordaan scored after spinning out of a couple of tackles close to the hosts' tryline.

The visitors didn't panic, however, and struck back with a try from JW Bell, after Bernado Botha did well in the build-up.

Justin van Staden then gave the Pumas a nine-point lead, when he succeeded with two further penalties, but the Sharks never gave up and Mjekevu gave them hope when he burst through a couple of tackles to score his second try, before Pietersen secured victory with his penalty in the 76th minute.

The scorers:

For Sharks:
Tries: Mjekevu 2, Jordaan
Cons: Pietersen 3
Pens: Pietersen 2
Yellow card: Reinach

For Pumas:
Tries: Coetzer, Bell
Cons: Roos, Van Staden
Pens: Roos 2, Van Staden 2
Yellow card: Momberg

Sharks: 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Wandile Mjekevu, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 S'bura Sithole, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Daniel du Preez, 6 Francois Kleinhans, 5 Marco Wentzel (c), 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Gerhard Engelbrecht, 2 Monde Hadebe, 1 Dale Chadwick. 
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 JC Astle, 19 Jean-Luc du Preez, 20 Stefan Ungerer, 21 Heimar Williams, 22 Garth April.

Pumas: 15 JW Bell, 14 Bernado Botha, 13 Hoffman Maritz, 12 Stefan Watermeyer (c), 11 Rosco Spekman, 10 JC Roos, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Jason-Colin Fraser, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Jaco Bouwer, 5 Marius Coetzer, 4 Rudi Mathee, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Jacques Momberg, 1 Corné Fourie.
Replacements: 16 Francois du Toit, 17 De-Jay Terblanche, 18 Khwezi Mona, 19 Giant Mtyanda, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Justin van Staden, 22 Jerome Pretorius.

Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen