Sharks cruise past Pumas in Currie Cup

The Sharks will hold on to their place at the top of the Currie Cup table after they beat the Pumas 30-14 in their Currie Cup match at Puma Stadium in Witbank on Friday.


The Sharks may be at the top of the Currie Cup table but there is a nagging concern after they went off the boil in the second half.


The visitors were 27-14 ahead at half-time, and increased their lead to 30-14 eight minutes after the restart.


But they didn’t score again and had only three points to show for their last 60 minutes, despite having the better of exchanges after the break.


The Sharks will be unhappy with their tackling and their handling in the first half after totally controlling the first quarter, with the Pumas having the better of the next 20 minutes.


By half-time the visitors had missed eight tackles and their handling was a little shaky. Their negative play at the breakdown, when the Pumas came back into the game after the first quarter, also saw a series of penalties awarded to the hosts and elicited a caution from the referee.


The Sharks’ defence was better in the second half – in which the Pumas had very little of the possession – but handling errors remained a concern.


On the upside, Sharks coach John Plumtree will be happy with the scrummaging after a hesitant start by a front row that had to compensate for the freezing of Springboks Beast Mtawarira and Bismarck du Plessis.


The visitors ran impressively early on, scoring their second try after less than six minutes and their bonus point try less than 20 minutes into the match. But that’s where their scoring for the first half ended.


The Pumas gifted the Sharks two of their tries. The first was through poor tackling that saw Craig Burden burst through and send Jacques Botes over. Then Burden pounced on a loose pass from the Pumas to run nearly 50 metres for an intercept try.


The Sharks’ other tries came through wingers Lwazi Mvovo, who finished well after a good line move, and Odwa Ndungane, who popped up on the left side for an excellent try after a hand-off.


It was one of the four first-half handling errors by the Sharks that gave the Pumas their first try-scoring opportunity after Burden had knocked on when his side tried to run from their own quarter.


Elgar Watts ran the perfect line for a try and converted himself to draw matters level at 7-7.


With the second quarter belonging to the Pumas, they got rewarded right on the hooter with Corne Steenkamp going over after a good rolling maul.


Braam Pretorius converted to wrap up the home side’s points tally for the match.


Final Score Pumas 14 Sharks 30


Scorers


Sharks
Tries: Botes, Burden, Mvovo, Ndungane
Cons: Lambie 2
Pens: Lambie 2


Pumas
Tries: Steenkamp, Watts
Cons: Pretorius 2

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