The Sharks cruised to a third successive bonus-point win as they hammered Boland 41-20 in Wellington on Friday afternoon. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
It’s been an encouraging start to the Premier Division season for the Sharks, with the Durban-based side building up an impressive head of steam after securing comfortable wins over the Pumas, Griquas, and now Boland.
Once again, the Sharks laid a solid foundation through superior physicality up front, abrasive defence and a strong scrum, while their attacking interplay continues to catch the eye.
The Sharks enjoyed 64% of possession in the first half, and punished a porous Boland defence (15 missed tackles) to open up a commanding 29-3 lead at half-time. At that point, it was pretty much game, set and match.
Odwa Ndungane scored the opening try and created another in the opening quarter, with impressive flyhalf Inny Radebe emerging as the benefactor when he finished off a scintillating 60m movement that saw the Sharks establish a handy 14-3 advantage early on.
Dominating both territory and possession, the Sharks then piled on the punishment for Boland as André Esterhuizen showed great strength to score in the 28th minute, while Chiliboy Ralepelle barged over just before the break to hand the visitors a virtually unassailable lead.
Despite a disappointing performance from Boland in the opening half, they deserve plenty of credit for the manner in which they came out after the break, with the hosts displaying a far greater appreciation for possession.
Boland enjoyed the ascendancy in the third quarter and received due reward when wingers Danwel Demas and Sergio Torrens both went over for well-worked tries to cut the deficit to 16 points.
It didn’t last long, though, with the Sharks finally stringing together a strong second-half attacking sequence to allow replacement Hanco Venter to dive over and effectively seal the result in the 65th minute.
Franco Marais went over from the back of another powerful lineout drive to score the Sharks' sixth try late in the game, but Ryan Nell would ensure Boland had the last laugh when he dotted down under the posts in the final minute.
Boland – 15 Nico Scheepers, 14 Sergio Torrens, 13 Christopher Bosch, 12 Ryan Nell, 11 Danwel Demas, 10 Adriaan Carelse, 9 Marnus Hugo, 8 Zandré Jordaan, 7 Jacques Engelbrecht, 6 Shaun Adendorff, 5 Hanno Kitshoff, 4 Shaun McDonald, 3 Basil Short, 2 Francois Esterhuyzen, 1 Stephanus Wessels.
Subs: 16 Clemen Lewis, 17 Abongile Mnyaka, 18 Francois Hanekom, 19 Joubert Horn, 20 Kenan Cronjé, 21 Jovelian de Koker, 22 Theuns Kotzé.
Sharks – 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Heimar Williams, 12 André Esterhuizen, 11 S’bura Sithole, 10 Inny Radebe, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Tera Mtembu, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Subs: 16 Franco Marais, 17 John-Hubert Meyer, 18 JC Astle, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Hanco Venter, 21 Wandile Mjekevu, 22 Garth April.
Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images