Sharks power into pole position
- 21 Sep 2013
The Sharks moved to the top of the Currie Cup log after recording a 50-26 bonus-point win against the Cheetahs.
This victory was down to the powerful performance of the pack. The Sharks forwards were dominant at the scrum and collisions, which allowed halfbacks Charl McLeod and Fred Zeilinga to put the dangerous backs into space.
Zeilinga looked particularly good playing behind a strong pack. His distribution in the first half was top-drawer, as he had a deft hand in each of the Sharks' first three tries.
The Cheetahs managed to stay in touch with the Sharks thanks to a try by Raymond Rhule and the cool goal-kicking of Riaan Smit. Despite their underwhelming performance in the first 40 minutes, they went to the break trailing just 26-16.
Smit kicked another penalty goal right after half-time, but it was no sign of a comeback or a shift in momentum. The Sharks picked up the bonus point when Tim Whitehead scored the hosts' fourth try in the 45th minute.
The Sharks continued to pile on the pressure, and ended the game having scored seven tries in all. The fact that they maintained a healthy gap between themselves and the Cheetahs is also significant.
The Sharks and Western Province have now both accumulated 24 log points after seven matches. However, it is the Durban side's superior points difference that sees them topping the Currie Cup log.
Sharks – Tries: SP Marais, Lwazi Mvovo (2), Heimar Williams, Tim Whitehead, Keegan Daniel, Cobus Reinach. Conversions: Fred Zeilinga (3). Penalties: Zeilinga (3).
Free State Cheetahs – Tries: Raymond Rhule, AJ le Roux. Conversions: Riaan Smit (2). Penalties: Smit (4).
Sharks – 15 SP Marais, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Tim Whitehead, 12 Heimar Williams, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Keegan Daniel (c), 7 Tera Mtembu, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Peet Marais, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Subs: 16 Monde Hadebe, 17 Rayno Gerber, 18 Edwin Hewitt, 19 Brynard Stander, 20 Cobus Reinach, 21 Butch James, 22 Jaco van Tonder.
Free State Cheetahs – 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Riaan Smit, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Elgar Watts, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Davon Raubenheimer, 7 Lappies Labuschagne, 6 Boom Prinsloo (c), 5 Waltie Vermeulen, 4 Lood de Jager, 3 Rossouw de Klerk, 2 Hercu Liebenberg, 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Subs: 16 AJ le Roux, 17 Schalk van der Merwe, 18 Teboho Mohoje, 19 Philip van der Walt, 20 Piet van Zyl, 21 Ryno Benjamin, 22 Willie du Plessis.
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images
Duane Vermeulen continues to impress as a player and leader, writes JON CARDINELLI.
What we’ve learned
Five lessons from the 15th round of Vodacom Super Rugby, according to SIMON BORCHARDT.
Saffas trail in Kiwis’ wake
Results confirm that South Africa’s franchises have fallen even further behind their New Zealand counterparts in 2015, writes JON CARDINELLLI.