Sharks stay alive with late victory over Blues

The Sharks came from behind to beat the Blues 22-20 and mathematically keep their hopes of reaching the Super Rugby play offs alive.

The Sharks led at half time but allowed the Blues to score two second half tries and take the lead and hold on to it as Patrick Lambie missed two penalty kicks that he would have normally been expected to land.

A try Riaan Viljoen 20 seconds from time allowed the Sharks to edge ahead and snatch the victory.

The victory is the Sharks ninth consecutive victory over the Blues who they have not lost to since April 2005.

First-half tries by Marcell Coetzee and Charl McLeod put the hosts in control
with a 17-5 lead at the interval, but an off-colour afternoon from flyhalf Patrick
Lambie allowed the tourists back in the game.

Frank Halai scored two tries, adding to one from Rene Ranger, to give the Blues
a three-point lead with a minute to play, before Viljoen completed a patient
attacking passage to hand the coastal side victory.

The opening quarter was largely dominated by the hosts. Lambie, who landed
three out of eight attempts, squandered a fairly routine fourth-minute penalty
when he skewed horribly wide, while the Sharks were also denied a try by a TMO
decision as the Aucklanders faced some heavy early pressure.

That resistance finally broke in the 23rd minute when Coetzee charged in on
the left, following another marauding drive by the pack.

Six minutes later the Springbok flanker was at it again, this time providing
the assist, as his initial pick-up and drive opened up some space for McLeod
to come from behind and scamper in.

That gave the Sharks a 14-0 lead, but seven minutes before the break, the Blues
finally conjured up a response.

Following a good forward break, the ball was spread wide to Halai and the winger
showed some powerful leg drive to force his way past two defenders and dive
over in the right corner for a ninth try of the season.

Lambie then missed a second kick at goal, but he did find his range with the
last kick of the half.

The gap was 12 points at the break, but that was reduced to seven straight
afterwards as a kind bounce by a Piri Weepu kick-ahead fell kindly for the Blues
attack, with the ball then spread cross-field to a lurking Halai who ran in
on the right.

Five minutes later the New Zealanders were level after replacement Ranger picked
up and sliced his way over for a sixth try of the campaign.

Lambie could have put the Sharks back in front before the hour mark but he
wasted a third penalty, again won by the powerful home scrum.

Bismarck du Plessis finally made his anticipated return in the black and white
after over 10 months on the sidelines due to injury, but he could do little
to prevent the visitors from taking a 61st minute lead when Baden Kerr popped
over a penalty.

Lambie should have drawn the scores level with 12 minutes to play, but his
woeful afternoon continued.

He was saved, however, by Viljoen who collected from James and dived over the
tryline.

Final Score Sharks 22 (17) Blues 20 (5)

Scorers

Sharks
Tries – M.Coetzee, C.MacLeod, R.Viljoen
Pen – P.Lambie
Con – P.Lambie 2
Drop –
Cards –

Blues
Tries – F.Halai 2, R.Ranger
Pen – B.Kerr
Con – C.Noakes
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee
: Jaco Peyper
Assistant Ref 1:Marius Jonker
Assistant Ref 2:Reuben Roussow
TMO : Willie Roos

Teams

Sharks

15. Riaan Viljoen , 14. Odwa Ndungane , 13. Louis Ludik , 12. Butch James , 11. Lwazi Mvovo , 10. Pat Lambie , 9. Charl McLeod

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