Sharks win unconvincing Currie Cup match

The Sharks duly won their Absa Currie Cup match against a gutsy but negative Valke side 44-19 here on Saturday but have a lot to ponder before their match against the Lions in Johannesburg next Saturday.

Repeated infringements, many penalties, three yellow cards, patches of poor tackling and many handling errors made this a match to forget -despite both teams’ efforts in the second half to play some decent rugby.

It was one of those windy, dusty days that so often affects players and teams to a point of near-mediocrity.

But for three well-constructed backline moves in a frustrating stop-start match, the first 40 minutes were indeed very average – epitomised by the charged-down Valke conversion from in front of the posts.

The frustration and stop-start nature of the match started with Valke flyhalf John Roodt being stretchered off in the second minute.

That disrupted the Valke on attack and defence with the gusty wind not helping them when they had ball in hand.

Francois Steyn was yellow-carded for a dangerous tackle after 22 minutes following a referral by referee Pro Legoete. The Sharks scored three tries in the first half to lead 20-5 at the break.

The Valke, trying hard throughout but out-classed in especially the first half, scored their try when captain Hanno Coetzee ran nearly 40 metres to score under the posts after breaking the line and with no cover defence in sight to cut him off.

It rained penalties because of the Valke’s disregard for the breakdown laws, and they were fortunate that it took 36 minutes before prop Dewald Coetzee was the first to get his marching orders.

In between the injuries, stoppages by the assistant referees and two TMO decisions, the Sharks lost three of their own lineouts in a display which was not convincing by any means – even considering the conditions, the fact that they were not at full strength and that the Valke were negative throughout on top of some good defence.

Lock Wouter Moore of the Valke was sin-binned just after the restart following a Sharks attack on the home side’s line and Ryan Kankowski scored from the next scrum to bring up the bonus point (25-5).

Waylon Murray went over for his second try two minutes later after a Sharks breakout of 80 metres and a recycled ruck, and after 47 minutes the score had escalated to 32-5.

A sublime off-load by Rouan Cloete saw Johan Jackson shrink the gap to 32-12, and another easy converted try by the Valke’s Franco Booysen made it 37-19 after Jannie du Plessis had scored the Natalians’ sixth try four minutes earlier.

The Sharks, with six of their seven replacements on the field midway through the second half, did some good things after the break but tackled poorly and were suddenly the cause of more penalties, marring what was becoming a more acceptable match to watch.

Albert van den Berg followed up well for another long-range try after the hooter to make the scoreline of 44-19 a little more flattering than was deserved.



Tries: Hanno Coetzee, Rouan Cloete, Franco Booysen.
Conversion: Jeff Perkins (2).

Tries: Waylon Murray (2), Pat Cilliers, JP Pietersen, Ryan Kankowski, Jannie du Plessis, Albert van den Berg.
Conversions: Ruan Pienaar (3).
Penalty: Pienaar

Sapa –

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