DURBAN – It was shaping up as one of those dreary penalties-only encounters at Kings Park, but the Sharks found their touch in the second half to dispatch the Pumas 29-0 in their Currie Cup clash on Saturday.
The home team led just 3-0 at halftime, with a penalty by flyhalf Curwin Bosch the only points on the board.
Both teams battled to get their rhythm going on attack in the first half as a number of handling and other unforced errors stymied any chance of tries being scored.
The Sharks had the better of the exchanges, but often coughed up possession when they got near or into the Pumas 22.
Bosch’s lone penalty came as early as the fifth minute, and with many of their Super Rugby players in tow, one would’ve expected them to see off the limited Pumas’ challenge much earlier in the day.
The visitors from Mpumalanga had one real chance of getting on to the board about five minutes before halftime, when they chose to kick a penalty into touch to set up a lineout five metres out.
But the opportunity was lost when hooker Marko Janse van Rensburg threw the ball over the jumper and the Sharks cleared their lines.
The Sharks came out firing in the second half, though, with centre Lukhanyo Am scoring within three minutes of the restart.
That signalled the time for the hosts to put the opposition away, and another try came soon afterwards when outside centre Jeremy Ward ran hard at the line and then offloaded to fullback Garth April, who put wing Sbu Nkosi over.
Ten minutes later, Sharks captain Keegan Daniel created the opening as he delivered a neat offload that saw Am get into space, and the No 12 found Kobus van Wyk unmarked out wide.
Arguably the best try of the night came from Ward in the 69th minute, as the counter-attack was started by a flowing long Bosch pass, with Am getting his timing just right to send Nkosi away.
The left wing produced an excellent back-flip pass to Ward to finish.
Sharks 29 – Tries: Lukhanyo Am, Sbu Nkosi, Kobus van Wyk, Jeremy Ward. Conversions: Curwin Bosch (3). Penalty: Bosch (1).
African News Agency (ANA)