Brave Griquas ride the wave to slay toothless Sharks
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DURBAN - Griquas continued their Currie Cup giant-slaying act when they beat the Sharks 37-27 at Jonsson Kings Park thanks to incredible defence and clinical finishing, while the exact opposite had to be said for their hosts.
In a game straight out of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, Griquas bravely played a portion of the first half with 12 men and a chunk of the second half with 12 men — they had five yellow cards —yet still won with ease.
The men from Kimberley stood tall and defiant at a venue where they have a history of shocking the Sharks, and again it was their forwards that outmuscled their opponents with contempt while their backs took every opportunity that came their way.
In this Currie Cup they have now added the scalp of the Sharks to those of the Cheetahs, Western Province and the Lions.
The Sharks? Their attack was beyond woeful and if they go into the United Rugby Championship with a pack of forwards as toothless as this one, heaven help them.
They will get players back from the Boks but honestly, this was depressing nonetheless and to be fair to Griquas, they are not Leinster, Munster and Ulster.
It was ominous for the Sharks from the word go when Daniel Kasende came in from the blindside wing and tore through the Sharks’ defence to score, from a planned move off a set scrum, not long after the match kicked off.
It was a perfect start for Griquas but from the ensuing kick-off they went offside and Curwin Bosch pulled three points back.
The next 25 minutes bordered on the bizarre. The Sharks laid siege to the Griquas line and despite penalty after penalty being awarded to them, plus two Griquas players being yellow-carded, the Sharks simply could not score.
It was tenacious defence from Griquas but also not a lot of imagination from the Sharks. They would have been better served to vary their point of attack rather than just bludgeoning away, which made it easier for the men to read and then defend.
And Griquas had just 13 players for eight minutes when prop Janu Botha was binned for killing the ball and scrumhalf Stefan Ungerer followed him soon after when he upended opposite number Sanele Nohamba off the ball.
The Sharks did score next but it was after Griquas had cleared the ball up field and a stunning counterattack by the effervescent Werner Kok culminated in flank Mpilo Gumede scoring a lovely try.
It was the Sharks’ turn to lose a player to a silly tackle— Nohamba going in too high — and then came a two-minute, two-try blitz from the men in peacock blue as half-time approached. In their first visit to the Sharks’ 22 since Kasende had scored in the second minute, they scored again, hooker Janco Uys rolling over from a lineout drive.
The Sharks had barely restarted when Griquas were again in their 22, with substitute wing Ederies Arendse scoring just as the half-time hooter went.
George Whitehead had converted all three tries to give his team a commanding 21-8 half-time lead.
And Griquas were at again not long into the second half, with Uys again on the end of another rolling maul try.
Whitehead kicked a penalty awarded when a Sharks scrum had exploded on retreat, and then Griquas went back into full-on defence mode, losing three players in the next 20 minutes to professional fouls
Tries by Reniel Hugo, Yaw Penxe and Thembelani Bholi gave the Sharks a glimmer of hope but two more Whitehead penalties saw Griquas comfortably home.
Sharks - Tries: Mpilo Gumede, Reniel Hugo, Yaw Penxe, Thembelani Bholi. Conversions: Curwin Bosch (2). Penalty: Bosch.
Griquas - Tries: Daniel Kasende, Janco Uys (2), Ederies Arendse. Conversions: George Whitehead (4). Penalties: Whitehead (3).