DURBAN – This time around, the Sharks got quicker out of the blocks to end any chance of an upset as they cruised to a 41-3 Currie Cup victory over Griquas at Kings Park on Friday night.
Last week the Durban outfit laboured against the unfancied Pumas, and led just 3-0 at halftime.
And the men from Kimberley have often been a bogey team for the Sharks as well over the years in the Currie Cup, even in Durban.
But Robert du Preez’s team put six tries past Griquas, registering their first as early as the third minute following a scrum, with wing Sbu Nkosi going close before superbly offloading inside to centre Jeremy Ward to go over.
The hosts nearly got a second just a few minutes later when flyhalf Curwin Bosch tried to get in at the corner, but was just tackled out following good work by loose forward Jacques Vermeulen.
The match then degenerated into a bit of an error-fest, and Bosch could only extend the Sharks’ lead with a penalty in the 21st minute.
Griquas managed to get some rhythm going halfway through the opening 40 minutes, and after fullback George Whitehead put them on the board with a three-pointer, the No 15 missed another attempt to reduce the Sharks’ lead.
That proved to be a costly miss as instead of being within four points of the Sharks, the visitors were soon 14 points behind.
Six minutes before halftime, Sharks right wing Kobus van Wyk scythed through the Griquas defence, and the ball was soon moved out wide to centre Lukhanyo Am, who produced a perfect grubber for Nkosi to dot down.
It was a long road back at 17-3 for Griquas, and the Sharks put the result beyond doubt in the 10 minutes after the break with a double strike.
The impressive Ward was stopped just short of the tryline, but flank Vermeulen barged his way over from the resultant ruck.
There was more creativity from the Sharks on attack, and they put together a clever move from a five-metre scrum in the 51st minute that saw fullback Garth April nearly sneak through, but replacement prop Juan Schoeman got the five points as he forced his way out of a few tackles to get over.
Griquas never really threatened the Sharks line, and there was some wayward kicking too.
Coach Du Preez introduced a raft of changes in the second half, but that didn’t stop them from scoring two more tries in the final quarter – to left wing Nkosi and replacement scrumhalf Cameron Wright in the final move of the match.
Sharks 41 – Jeremy Ward, Sbu Nkosi (2), Jacques Vermeulen, Juan Schoeman, Cameron Wright. Conversions: Curwin Bosch (3), Inny Radebe (1). Penalty: Bosch (1).
Griquas 3 – Penalty: George Whitehead (1).
African News Agency (ANA)