Sharks do the double over Kings in Currie Cup

The Natal Sharks earned their second Currie Cup victory this season over the
EP Kings by beating the Port Elizabeth side 20-24 at the Nelson Mandela Bay
Stadium.

The men from Durban dominated most facets of the game, but they nearly let
it slip in the final minute of the match when the Kings launched a counter-attack
from deep inside their 22-metre territory.

At the end it was a far more clinical performance by Gary Gold’s men
who have struggled to get going this season, while the EP Kings (like Griquas)
are yet to win a match after four rounds of action.

The Kings could not have asked for a better start to proceedings when Thembelani Bholi
dotted down in the second minute of the match after the Sharks failed to deal
with a perfectly timed stab-kick through their backline.

Fullback Scott van Breda made no mistake with the conversion and would extend
his team’s lead to 10-points in the ninth minute when the visitors were
pinged for illegal scrummaging.

The Sharks scrum remained under immense pressure during the first-half and
this proved to be very frustrating as they were unable to take advantage of
opportunities flyhalf Lionel Cronje created through an admirable tactical kicking
display.

Not even when Kings wing Siyanda Grey was somewhat controversially sin-binned
for tackling Michael Claassens in the air, were the Sharks able to convert good
field position into points.

Instead, Van Breda added three more points to his team’s total in the
32nd minute when the Sharks were guilty of a breakdown infringement (13-0).

The home side defended exceptionally well and it would take something special
from fullback Joe Pietersen to get his team on the scoreboard.

Pietersen, who was named Man-of-the-Match, rounded-off in the corner a minute
from the break following a more patient approach by the Durban-based squad.

The experienced campaigner did very well to convert the try from out wide and
at half-time the 13-point lead was cut down to just six.

Leading 13-7, the Kings defence was again tested to its limits by the Sharks
who came out guns blazing at the start of the second stanza.

The Sharks came frustratingly close to scoring on more than one occasion but
the Kings defence stood firm.

In the 48th minute, having dominated territorially the visitors finally found
their way over the try-line when flank Francois Kleinhans dived over following
a few impressive driving mauls.

Pietersen made no mistake with the conversion and for the first time in the
match the Sharks were in front at 14-13.

As the Sharks continued to dominate both territory and possession, the Kings
started to fade.

A strong burst by Kleinhans led to Daniel du Preez’ try in the 56th minute
which ensured the Sharks stretched their lead to 21-13.

Pietersen made it 24-13 on the 60-minute mark and although the Kings would
eventually build some momentum, they weren’t able to penetrate the Sharks
line.

In a very late flourish, the Kings were awarded a penalty try after Sibusiso
Sithole was yellow-carded for a high tackle on JP du Plessis.

With the conversion, the Kings were back in contention and after Van Breda
converted a penalty the visitors had to fight desperately to hang on to the
24-20 lead they enjoyed with only five minutes remaining in the match.

The men from Durban tried valiantly to get the bonus-point try, but for all
their faults, the Kings defence stood firm.

Final Score EP Kings 20 (13) Sharks 24 (7)

Scorers

EP Kings
Tries: Bholi, Penatly try
Cons: van Breda 2
Pens: van Breda 2

Sharks
Tries: Pietersen, Kleinhans, Du Preez
Cons: Pietersen 3

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