Waratahs' Lalakai Foketi is tackled by Sharks' Keegan Daniel in their Super Rugby encounter in Durban. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

The Sharks were forced to settle for a draw in their first home game of the season against the Waratahs, 24-all. It was a game that the home team dominated from the outset, but they failed to capitalise on a multitude of opportunities to score points.

It was a nervy start from the Sharks as they did a few good things right in the line outs to begin with, but in the lose play a dodgy pass ended up with the first scrum of the game being a five metre defensive one. 

The Waratahs used the ball quick from the scum as their scrumhalf, Jake Gordon, broke quickly to score within the first five minutes.  

The Sharks consolidated their play somewhat as a powerful maul ended up in a kickable penalty which was duly taken by flyhalf Robert du Preez.

Having settled their nerves the Sharks did get into their running and offloading game which they have been building towards for a few years now. Andre Esterhuizen ran a great line with his scrumhalf Luis Schreuder running a supporting line. The one-cap Bok was dragged down but popped the ball off the ground for outside centre Lukhanyo Am to score under the posts for the lead halfway through the first stanza.

Things levelled up as Bernard Foley had the easiest of kicks in front of the posts from a penalty. 10-all with 10 minutes still to go in the half.

That is how the half ended with the Sharks certainly on top as the sat camped on the Waratahs line before heading into the sheds. Energy was certainly being sapped as early as 40 minutes in, with the heat, and a sweaty ball, playing its part.

An early change saw reserve hooker Akker van der Merwe come on, and his first input was to pop the ball inside with a miracle ball for the on rushing Lukhanyo Am to sprint onto, scoring his second, totally untouched.

The Waratahs struck back off a poor decision by Keegan Daniel who threw a quick line out to himself but lost the ball forward. The visitors picked up the loose ball and ran it to the line with captain Michael Hooper scoring; Bernard Foley leaving things up.

The bench certainly made a difference as the match went on. Marius Louw came on in the centre for only his second cap, he put the ball to boot in a little chip, gathered it, and offloaded to the flyhalf who managed to pick up his second try in two games; the deadlock broken at the same time.

The lead did not last long with the Sharks still intent on throwing the ball around. The ball switched possession a number of times before a kicking battle broke out leaving the defence scattered. The Waratahs thread the ball with some decisive passing leading to them scoring in the corner. Foley had a tough kick to again tie it up, and nailed it from the left corner, 24-all with the last two minutes to play.

The whistle finally went with the Waratahs the ones looking to break the deadlock, but there was no time for a scum as the game ended in a tie.

IOL Sport

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter