DURBAN – Looking at the result – a bonus-point victory and no tries conceded – it sounds like a good day at the office, but the Sharks won’t be happy with their 41-3 win over the Griquas.
It was another case of the Sharks playing against themselves as they battled handling errors and unforced mistakes to keep the visitors in the game.
The tries, again, came in the second half, but they were counter-attacking and rather lucky than well constructed, especially as the Griquas tired.
With two of the minnow teams out of the way, the Sharks have some tough games, in quick succession, to try and break out against the errors they have mostly constructed themselves.
An early try did nothing to help the hosts, who thought they were in for a cakewalk.
However, as they continued to butcher chances – and possession and territory – the pressure mounted and the Griquas hauled their way back into the game.
The Sharks came out firing with that first try when Jeremy Ward opened the scoring after an audacious offload from his wing, Sbu Nkosi, within three minutes of the game.
However, those same issues that dogged the Sharks in the first half against the Pumas returned as holding onto the ball at critical moments became a problem for the home side.
After dominating every aspect of play, from territory, possession and scrums, and getting no rewards, it made sense when skipper Ruan Botha finally pointed to the posts for a penalty, which Bosch knocked over on 21 minutes.
The Griquas got on to the board with their own three-pointer as the Sharks began to creak a little.
The Sharks countered from a Griquas kick that couldn’t find touch. The ball needed to be shifted through the hands, and eventually grubbered through, for Nkosi to dive onto it across the line just before the break. Bosch adding the extras.
The déjà vu continued in a slick second half, much like last week, as some good phases saw Jacques Vermeulen barging over for the third try for the Sharks with Bosch converting.
Another bit of ongoing pressure saw the Sharks break from a scrum to work their way to the line, this time substitute prop Juan Schoeman coming up with the try, a bonus-point one at that.
Nkosi’s capitalised on a Jean Droste break that saw the Sharks turn defence into attack against the run of play. The winger went over in the corner after a few more fierce phases.
A final try in the dying minutes added some more respectability to the Sharks’ win with reserve scrumhalf Cameron Wright finishing things off.
The Sharks couldn’t ask for more, but the Bulls on Wednesday and the Lions three days later certainly will.
Sharks – Tries: Jeremy Ward, Sbu Nkosi (2), Jacques Vermeulen, Juan Schoeman, Cameron Wright. Conversions: Curwin Bosch (3), Inny Radebe. Penalty: Bosch (1).
Griquas – Penalty: George Whitehead (1).