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Sharks bare teeth to bite Stormers

Super Rugby

The Sharks exploited their scoring opportunities to run out deserving 22-10 winners over the hapless Stormers in a Super Rugby coastal derby at Kings Park in Durban on Saturday evening.

The Sharks held a commanding 15-0 lead at halftime after scoring two unanswered tries.

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Jean-Luc du Preez was a dominant presence for the Sharks against the Stormers. Photo: Gerhard Duraan, BackpagePixS'bu Nkosi streaks over for a vital try for the Sharks that ended the match as a contest. Photo: Gerhard Duraan, BackpagePix

In the end, the Sharks outscored the visiting Stormers 3-1 in the try-count thanks in the main to their stout defence in the face of mostly predictable attacking patterns.

The inclement weather made for greasy conditions at the kickoff and in the opening minutes, both teams showed great intent.

A fifth-minute scrum penalty against the Stormers gave the Sharks a chance to open the scoring as flyhalf Garth April was on target with a penalty.

The Sharks pack seemed to have the upper hand in the tight exchanges, and were able to take the ball through the phases. A number of pick-and-go drives upfield saw the Sharks midfielder Johan Deysel crossed the whitewash for the opening try.

The Stormers managed to secure a fair amount of possession, but a combination of handling mistakes and poor option-taking saw them come away empty-handed after they had mounted a few penetrative attacks.

There were a few instances of poor tactical kicks, which allowed the Sharks defence to deal with threats close to the tryline.

Stormers captain Siya Kolisi brings down Sharks wing S'bu Nkosi at Kings Park. Photo: Gerhard Duraan, BackpagePix


Both teams launched several attacks out on the flanks, but the Sharks’ defence out wide, in particular, was impressive.

Around the half-hour mark, the Stormers enjoyed two 5m lineouts in quick succession, but the Sharks kept their defensive lines intact.

A possible Sharks try went begging when left wing S’bu Nkosi opted to kick ahead instead of gathering the ball some six metres out as the Stormers’ cover defence were found wanting in the 35th minute.

However, two minutes later the Sharks’ power upfront took its toll as lock Stephan Lewies sneaked the ball over the whitewash from the bottom of a loose scrum, almost on the Stormers’ tryline. This time April converted (15-0).

Right on halftime, the Stormers squandered yet another chance to crack the opposition defence from a 5m lineout.

The Stormers pulled off a lineout variation, but the ploy was well read by Sharks flank Jean-Luc du Preez, who made a try-saving turnover virtually on his own line.

The Stormers were off to a lively start when second-half play commenced, and they drew a small measure of reward when fullback SP Marais goaled a penalty three minutes into the half.

It was all Stormers for a subsequent 10-minute passage of play, and a 12-phase attack inside the Sharks’ 22m territory eventually breached the defence when Marais sneaked in for his side’s first try, which he converted to reduce the deficit to five points at 15-10.

Just when the Stormers were looking to build on their ascendancy, they suffered a huge setback when Nkosi streaked past two opponents from the back of the lineout to run in for the Sharks’ third try.

April’s conversion pushed the Sharks’ lead out to 22-10.

The Stormers responded with great intent as they managed to pin the Sharks down in their own 22m area over a six-minute spell.

However, the Stormers’ predictable attack allowed the Sharks defence to live a charmed life as they thwarted three scoring attempts in quick succession around the 70th-minute mark.

As it turned out, the Stormers were never allowed back into the game as the Sharks held out for a deserving win on the back of an excellent first-half performance and strong defence in the second.

Points-Scorers

Sharks 22 – Tries: Johan Deysel, Stephan Lewies, S’bu Nkosi. Conversions: Garth April (2). Penalty: April (1).

Stormers 10 – Try: SP Marais. Conversion: SP Marais (1). Penalty: Marais (1).

African News Agency (ANA)
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