KZN steal draw in high scoring encounter

The Under-18B KZN Sharks tussle with the Eastern Province Elephants in a nail-biting encounter, which ended up in a draw. |

The Under-18B KZN Sharks tussle with the Eastern Province Elephants in a nail-biting encounter, which ended up in a draw. |

Published Jun 28, 2024


Durban — The KwaZulu-Natal Sharks had the last laugh as they stole a draw from the jaws of defeat, following a high-scoring draw against Eastern Province on day 1 of the ongoing Academy Week.

The Under-18B Academy Week is on the go from June 24-28 at Jeppe Boys High School, in Johannesburg.

Head coach Naseeb Abrahams said their opening game involved a tough opponent in Eastern Province (EP).

“We moved the ball well on attack and found ourselves up 14-3 in the opening exchange. EP did fight their way back in the game using the maul to good effect, scoring two tries off it and taking the lead into half-time.

Abrahams said it was unfortunate that in the first half, his side missed three penalty kicks and conceded an unforced error in the opposition’s 22 when they had the chance to swing the momentum of the match in their favour before half-time.

“In the second half, the score was back and forth and we missed two crucial line-outs which would have given us an opportunity to take the lead,” he said.

“However, with time running out, we managed to connect on a maul and scored a try and kicked the conversion to level the scores with the last move.”

“Our boys showed great character to come back from having a man down for 10 minutes and being behind late in the game but showed fight to get back into the game. We were good in our line-out execution and did well on attack,” he concluded.

Captain and flank Cyril Cherayi said the game started off in a very untidy manner with a lot of back-and-forth kicking.

The Maritzburg College man added, “Eventually, EP opened the scoring with a penalty for not releasing, however, the Sharks quickly recovered and scored two quick tries and the momentum seemed to be with us.”

Cherayi added that EP soon regained momentum and it slowly looked like they were going to pull away on the scoreboard.

He said, “We did not give up, and with a barrage of attacks in the form of mauls and slick running from the backline, they scored in the last movement of the game and Jade-Will Koopman slotted in the conversion to bring the thrilling game to a 38-38 score.

“I expected my teammates to never give up and continue to fight until the very end. We knew it was going to be tough but we were ready for the challenge.

“There were stints in the game where either team could have given up as the score seemed to not favour them however each side in those moments found a way to claw their way back to either tie the game or gain the lead, in the end, it was a draw, a testament to the determination and refusal to give up shown by both sides.”

He concluded, “The game went back and forth with Eastern Province leading for the majority of the second half however the Sharks managed to fight their way back into the game and equalised the scoreboard with the last movement of the game.”

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