The Sharks’ downward Super Rugby spiral continued at Jonsson Kings Park on Good Friday when they delivered a depressingly poor performance in losing 21-14 to the Queensland Reds.
It was the Sharks’ fourth home defeat of the season and given that they head for Australia on Sunday for a tough three-week tour, it would seem their Super Rugby race for 2019 is just about run. It would certainly appear that way for their disappointed fans ..
The Reds are no great shakes themselves but they were easily the better team and the manner in which they comfortably took their chances contrasted starkly with how the Sharks butchered clear-cut scoring opportunities.
In the first half alone, the Sharks left three tries on the table thanks to final passes going astray or being knocked on. They looked dazed and confused with ball in hand (the catching and passing was dreadful), lacked cohesion and shape on attack and were pathetic in defence.
In fact the Reds were gifted two soft and early tries when Sharks defenders fell off tackles. The visitors’ first try came as early as the second minute when their brilliant captain and centre, Samu Kerevi, shrugged off defenders as he burst through the middle to set up flyhalf Bryce Hegarty.
And ten minutes later it was more of the same from Kerevi and the Reds as they opened up the Sharks defence for outside centre Chris Feuai-Sautia.
It was 14-0 after as many minutes and the Sharks resembled stunned mullets.
What was puzzling in the first quarter is that the Sharks turned down numerous kicks at goal in favour of the kick to the corner They are a team lacking in confidence and it surely would have been more beneficial to take easy points when they were on offer.
In the 24th minute they did eventually get it right when hooker Kerron van Vurren scored off the back of a lineout try. Sadly for the Sharks’ fans, the next time their team would score was the 79th minute when the game was won and lost.
The game was an unattractive war of attrition from Van Vuuren’s try onwards, with the next score coming in the 60th minute when Reds scrumhalf Tate McDermott was put clean through the defence, and that was the ball game at 21-7.
At the death, there was a consolation try for Jean-Luc Du Preez, but it was way too little much too late.
Sharks: Try: Kerron van Vuuren, Jean-Luc du Preez. Conversions: Rob du Preez, Curwin Bosch
Reds: Tries: Bryce Hegarty, Chris Feuai-Sautia, Tate Mc Dermott. Conversions: Hegarty (2), Hamish Stewart@MikeGreenaway67