Sharks end Western Province’s Currie Cup run

The Sharks ended Western Province’s unbeaten Currie Cup run with a 27-16 victory at the Shark tank in Durban.


The Sharks outscored their opponents by two tries to one and restricted Western Province to three penalties, a try and a conversion.


The Sharks added a drop goal, four penalties and a conversion to their two tries adding up for a convincing victory especially since the Sharks trailed 8-9 at half time.

 

The Sharks however will be concerned about injuries to Andries Strauss who limped off and Louis Ludik who was stretchered off in the first half.

The Sharks started off by running their early possession to all corners of the field, including their own 22-metre area.


In the opening ten minutes the ploy worked well enough to pin Province down in their oiwn half, and the territorial advantage came in handy for the Sharks when their flyhalf was able to goal one of two penalties (3-0).


The Sharks’ physical approach provided their game with plenty of thrust but it could not breach the structured Province defence who did well to soak up the early pressure.


The robust contest took it’s toll early in the match with Province flank Rhynardt Elstadt (thumb) and Sharks fullback Louis Ludik (concussion) making early exits.


They were replaced by Nick Koster and Monty Dumond respectively. Province points machine, flyhalf Willem de Waal, uncharacteristically missed a goalable penalty attempt in the 22nd minute but he made amends six minutes later to reduce the stalemate (3-3).


Both teams had their best attacking efforts spoilt by basic errors like forward passes and knock-ons which tended to crop up when there were chances to breach defences.


However, as the game reached the final quarter of the first half Province started imposing themselves on the match but their so-journ deep inside the Sharks’ 22-metre proved fruitless except for a 35th minute De Waal penalty which gave the visitors the lead (6-3).


With Province continuing to exert pressure, the Sharks loosies Ryan Kankowski and Keegan Daniel engineered a superb break-out near their own 22-metre line before they sent rightwing Odwa Ndungane clear to snatch the opening try after a 65-metre dash down the touchline.


Lambie’s conversion failed (8-6). On the stroke of halftime, De Waal steered a third penalty through the posts to regain the lead for the Capetonians (9-8).


When the second-half started both teams continued to struggle to consolidate first-phase possession and this failure made for a scrappy contest between two evenly matched sides.


The Province defence surprisingly suffered a lapse of concentration when they allowed Kankowski to tip-toe his way past four would-be tacklers for an easy converted try next to the posts, and once again the lead changed hands in the 45th minute (15-9).


This advance induced a fresh sense of urgency in the Sharks’ ranks with hooker Bismarck du Plessis and Kankowski showing the way and Province conceded another penalty six minutes later as they battled to contain the pressure.


The Lambie strike opened up a nine-point lead (18-9).


By the time the match reached the hour mark the Sharks held the upper hand and Province needed to stage a dramatic recovery if they were to successfully defend their unbeaten record.


As it turned out the Sharks managed to maintain their vice-like grip on the match and after Lambie further stretched the lead in the final 12 minutes with two more penalties, the match looked well beyond Province (24-9).


That was the case, after Sharks skipper Stefan Terblanche snapped over a drop goal.


Nick Koster snatched a consolation try at the death, with Lionel Cronje adding a conversion to round off the 27-16 outcome in the final match of the Currie Cup first-round competition.


Final Score Sharks 27 Western Province

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