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Sharks still a Force to be reckoned with

Super Rugby

DURBAN – A two-try blitz just before the halftime break saw the Sharks take the game away from the Western Force to register a 37-12 Super Rugby victory at Kings Park on Saturday.

It was another important four log points for the Sharks after last week’s character-filled triumph over the Jaguares in Buenos Aires.

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Jeremy Ward screams in delight after scoring his very first Super Rugby try for the Sharks. Photo: Gerhard Duraan, BackpagePixOpposing captains Philip van der Walt and Matt Hodgson get to grips with each other at Kings Park. Photo: Gerhard Duraan, BackpagePix

The Sharks kicked two early penalties through star flyhalf Curwin Bosch, but battled to turn their dominance into a significant advantage in the first half-hour.

In fact, it was the Force who stunned the home crowd by going into the lead in the 26th minute when wing James Verity-Amm – who grew up in the Western Cape and played Under-21 rugby for Western Province – showed good pace and stepping skills to slice through the Sharks defence off a scrum to dot down.

The home side were denied tries either side of the Force touchdown, though.

Debutant wing Sbu Nkosi called back after Bosch knocked-on in the build-up, while Jean-Luc du Preez’s effort was also in vain due to a “truck and trailer” at a maul.

The turning point for coach Robert du Preez and his team came three minutes before the break when centre Curtis Rona was yellow-carded for the Force’s repeated infringements as he went offside inside the 22, and Sharks No 12 Jeremy Ward barged his way over following a lineout drive.

Two minutes later, midfielder Lukhanyo Am showed his class by dancing through the Force defence, slipping in a grubber and regaining possession to put Jean-Luc du Preez away for a 20-7 halftime lead.

The industrious Ward was again involved in the third Sharks try when he brilliantly kicked the ball away from the touch-line and kept it in play, and Bosch also hacked it ahead and fell on it.

At 30-7 ahead with the final quarter to go, the Sharks would’ve been expected to drive home their advantage and secure a bonus point, but it was not to be.

With just over 10 minutes to go, another former Cape-based player in Marcel Brache got over the whitewash following a long pass from flyhalf Jono Lance.

Soon afterwards, Sharks outside centre Am gave his team renewed hope of a bonus point when he intercepted from Force hooker Heath Tessmann to score a fourth try, but despite a second yellow card to the Australians in the final seconds, the Durbanites couldn’t get a fifth five-pointer.

Points-Scorers

Sharks 37 – Tries: Jeremy Ward, Jean-Luc du Preez, Curwin Bosch, Lukhanyo Am. Conversions: Bosch (3), Patrick Lambie (1). Penalties: Bosch (3).

Force 12 – Tries: James Verity-Amm, Marcel Brache. Conversion: Ian Prior (1).

African News Agency (ANA)

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