Sharks open Currie Cup with Pumas victory

Andre Esterhuizen in action for the Sharks

Natal’s Sharks opened their 2016 Currie Cup campaign with a 31-10 victory over the Pumas at the Mbombela Stadium on Friday night.

The visitors, who were 14-10 up at halftime, scored two tries in the first half and three in the second half to record a bonus-point win over the home side, who shocked the Sharks in last year’s corresponding fixture.

Flyhalf Francois Brummer slotted a penalty to give the home team a 3-0 lead in the third minute of the match. However, the Sharks were the first team to score a try when their hooker Franco Marias crossed the line.

The Sharks scored their second try of the match in the 16th minute when veteran fullback Odwa Ndungane crossed the line after some good interplay.

The Pumas hit back with a try of their own 12 minutes later. They kicked a penalty close to the Sharks’ tryline, and then expertly drove over the line with a maul. Their hooker Frankie Herne was the player who got up with the ball.

After an uneventful first 10 minutes of the second half, the Sharks suddenly switched gears. They lifted the tempo and started to offload in the tackle. After great passing and running into space, wing Sibusiso Sithole rounded off a great try in the 60th minute.

The Pumas tried to fight back but were not accurate enough at set-piece time. They had a scrum and a lineout on the Sharks’ line in the 64th minute, but couldn’t manage to break down the visitors’ defence.

The Sharks scored their bonus-point try in the 67th minute after a lineout drive of their own. After the maul was brought to ground, replacement lock Ruan Botha dived over for his first try in Sharks colours.

Four minutes later Sharks centre Andre Esterhuizen scored the Sharks’ fifth try to bury the home side.

Final Score Pumas 14 (10) Sharks 31 (14)


Try: Frankie Herne.
Conversion: Francois Brummer.
Penalty: Brummer.

Tries: Franco Marais, Odwa Ndungane, Sibusiso Sithole, Ruan Botha, Andre Esterhuizen.
Conversions: Curwin Bosch (4).

Referee: Jaco Peyper



15 Justin van Staden, 14 JP Lewis, 13 Hennie Skorbinski, 12 Marlou van Niekerk, 11 Marcello Sampson, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Reynier van Rooyen, 8 Carel Greeff, 7 Lambert Groenewald, 6 Brian Shabangu, 5 Hugo Kloppers (c), 4 Stephan Greeff, 3 Dee-Jay Terblanche, 2 Frankie Herne, 1 Kwezi Mona.

Replacements: 16 Swys du Toit, 17 Yskas Kotzé, 18 Wiehan Hay,19 Marnus Schoeman, 20 Emile Temperman, 21 Devon Williams, 22 Deon Helberg


15 Odwa Ndungane, 14 Neil Maritz, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 S’bura Sithole, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Keegan Daniel (c), 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Dale Chadwick

Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Ruan Botha, 19 Tera Mtembu, 20 Stefan Ungerer, 21 Inny Radebe, 22 Heimar Williams

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