The Sharks had a surprise loss to the Griquas in their opening Currie Cup game. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

DURBAN  Griquas started their Currie Cup campaign in impressive fashion by dismantling the defending champions, the Sharks, 37-13 in Durban on Friday night.

Griquas held a 10-6 lead at the break.

The visitors, fresh off a SuperSport Rugby Challenge win, continued in the same vein in their opening match in the Currie Cup as they showed much more fluency and rhythm in their performance and outscored the home side by four tries to one.

The defending champions showed very little cohesion at Kings Park and only managed some patterns in the early stages of the second half.

Rainy conditions before kick-off aided Griquas in their determination to dominate up front and allowing George Whitehead (flyhalf) to rule the roost over field position and the tempo of the match.

The Sharks’ plan to bring their speedy backs into play early on proved a gamble with the slippery ball and such a spill resulted in an early try to Griquas scrumhalf Zak Burger.

Whitehead converted and kicked a penalty goal, but it was the territorial dominance created by Whitehead's accurate punts that kept the home side on their heels.

The Sharks got into the game late in the first half and two Curwin Bosch penalties helped them to convert that pressure onto the scoreboard.

The second half was dominated by the men from Kimberley.

Michal Hazner scored an early try after a clever chip by Andre Swarts and Whitehead kicked a second penalty to extend their lead.

Cameron Wright scored the home side's only try after an hour of play as they spurned numerous other chances with sloppy handling.

Two devastating line-out drives by Griquas saw replacement-hooker, Wilmar Arnoldi, at the end of both for his brace, the second handing his team a well-deserved bonus point.

Scorers:

Sharks 13 (6) - Try: Cameron Wright. Conversion: Curwin Bosch. Penalty goals: Bosch (2).

Griquas 37 (10) - Tries: Zak Burger, Michal Haznar, Wilmar Arnoldi (2). Conversions: George Whitehead (4). Penalty goals: Whitehead (3). 

African News Agency (ANA)