Fullback Andre Joubert crossed for two tries as the 1996 Sharks powered to a convincing 32-18 victory over the 2001 Brumbies at Kings Park in our interactive Greatest Super Rugby Team tournament.
SA Rugby magazine readers dived into Game 1 of the 32-team knockout tournament, claiming 32 of the available 50 points for the home team by logging 64% of the votes in favour of the Sharks.
Ten of those 32 points came by way of Joubert’s touchdowns, complemented by tries from tighthead prop Adrian Garvey and lock Steve Atherton, while flyhalf Henry Honiball added 12 points by way of three conversions and a pair of penalties.
The 2001 Brumbies’ 18 points (36% of the votes) included tries from No 8 Jim Williams and wing Joe Roff, with flyhalf Stephen Larkham converting the latter try to go with two penalties.
The result eliminates the 2001 Brumbies from the tournament while Joubert and the 1996 Sharks advance to the round of 16.
The Sharks streaked to a 17-6 lead in the first half with Joubert converting an early turnover won by flank Wayne Fyvie and adding his second try at the half-hour mark after a poor clearance kick was returned for five points – Honiball added the extras and kicked one penalty.
Two Larkham penalties was all the visitors could muster as Jeremy Paul struggled to find his lineout jumpers while, at scrum time, the Brumbies hooker was put under the pump by the Sharks tandem of Garvey and rake John Allan.
Coach Eddie Jones must have had the clipboard and marker out at half time as the Brumbies galloped into the second 40. Williams charged across the line from the back of a short-range scrum and then Roff swooped on a poor pass from centre Jeremy Thomson to punish the home team for attempting to launch from their own 22, with Larkham converting to put the Brumbies into an 18-17 lead midway through the third quarter.
But Ian McIntosh got his message on to the field – slow the game down – and the Sharks narrowed their attack and fed the pack in a brutal, direct assault on the Brumbies.
Garvey scored on a pick-and-go before Atherton was shunted across the line from an impromptu maul and Honiball converted with 18 minutes remaining.
The 29-18 advantage set a premium on scoring tries for the Brumbies. They spurned kickable penalties in favour of lineouts but their desperation led to ill-discipline and penalties against Paul, fetcher George Smith, lock David Giffin and centre Rod Kafer put the Sharks in enemy territory where Honiball sealed the victory with a penalty.
’96 Sharks – Tries: Joubert (2), Garvey, Atherton. Conversions: Honiball (3). Penalties: Honiball (2).
’01 Brumbies – Tries: Williams, Roff. Conversions: Larkham. Penalties: Larkham (2).
1996 Sharks – 15 Andre Joubert, 14 James Small, 13 Jeremy Thomson, 12 Dick Muir, 11 Cabous van der Westhuizen, 10 Henry Honiball, 9 Kevin Putt, 8 Gary Teichmann (c), 7 Wickus van Heerden, 6 Wayne Fyvie, 5 Mark Andrews, 4 Steve Atherton, 3 Adrian Garvey, 2 John Allan, 1 Ollie le Roux.
Subs: 16 Joos Joubert, 17 Roland de Marigny, 18 Robert du Preez, 19 Dieter Kriese, 20 John Slade, 21 Federico Mendez.
Coach: Ian McIntosh.
2001 Brumbies – 15 Andrew Walker, 14 Graeme Bond, 13 James Holbeck, 12 Rod Kafer, 11 Joe Roff, 10 Stephen Larkham, 9 George Gregan, 8 Jim Williams, 7 George Smith, 6 Peter Ryan, 5 David Giffin, 4 Justin Harrison, 3 Ben Darwin, 2 Jeremy Paul, 1 Bill Young.
Subs: 16 Tom Murphy, 17 Matt Weaver, 18 David Pusey, 19 Radike Samo, 20 Travis Hall, 21 Craig McMullen, 22 Mark Bartholomeusz.
Coach: Eddie Jones.