Leolin Zas and Lwazi Mvovo scored braces to help the Sharks claim a 41-11 bonus-point win against Griquas in Kimberley on Saturday. DYLAN JACK reports.
The result sees the Sharks temporarily climb to top spot on the log, a point ahead of Western Province, who face the Blue Bulls later on Saturday.
The talking point before this match was the 10-12 axis of Curwin Bosch and Robert du Preez. Despite a shaky day off the kicking tee, Bosch was far more effective in an attacking sense at pivot than he was a couple of weeks ago playing fullback against Western Province, so it will be interesting to see if coach Robert du Preez Sr keeps him there.
Springboks Akker van der Merwe and Sbu Nkosi also enjoyed a good return to form, while Jean-Luc du Preez got a solid 20 minutes of action off the bench.
After the home side took an early lead through the boot of George Whitehead, the Sharks replied shortly afterwards through a try from Jeremy Ward.
Having soaked up some more pressure from Griquas, the visitors doubled their lead when a skip pass from Robert du Preez found Mvovo out wide and the wing showed good pace to sprint clear and dot down.
Griquas hit back through a second penalty from Whitehead, but Van der Merwe then bashed his way over to extend their lead.
The Sharks wrapped up the bonus point just before the break when a maul sucked in plenty of the Griquas defenders, allowing Mvovo to score his second.
Despite ringing the changes after half-time, the Sharks continued where they left off when a good run and pass from Van der Merwe put Zas free out wide and the substitute wing shrugged off a couple of tacklers to dive over in the corner.
A break from Aphelele Fassi then saw Nkosi go through for the Sharks’ sixth, before Zas scored his second, once again in the corner.
To their credit, Griquas continued to throw everything at the Sharks and they got a good reward in the closing stages when outgoing captain Kyle Steyn sprinted in for their only try of the match.
Griquas – Try: Kyle Steyn. Penalties: George Whitehead (2).
Sharks – Tries: Jeremy Ward, Lwazi Mvovo (2), Akker van der Merwe, Leolin Zas (2), Sbu Nkosi. Conversions: Bosch (3).
Griquas – 15 AJ Coertzen, 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Kyle Steyn (c), 12 Andre Swarts, 11 Enver Brandt, 10 George Whitehead, 9 Zak Burger, 8 Conway Pretorius, 7 Sias Koen, 6 Wendal Wehr, 5 Pieter Jansen van Vuuren, 4 Sintu Manjezi, 3 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 2 Khwezi Mkhafu, 1 Devon Matinus.
Subs: 16 Liam Hendricks, 17 Nicolaas Oosthuizen, 18 Jonathan Janse van Rensburg, 19 Eital Bredenkamp, 20 Louis Venter, 21 Stephan Janse van Rensburg, 22 Edwin Sass.
Sharks – 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 S’bu Nkosi, 13 Jeremy Ward, 12 Robert du Preez, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Louis Schreuder (c), 8 Tyler Paul, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Luke Stringer, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Gideon Koegelenberg, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Akker van der Merwe, 1 Juan Schoeman.
Subs: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 JJ van der Mescht, 19 Jean-Luc du Preez, 20 Grant Williams, 21 Marius Louw, 22 Leolin Zas.
Photo: Frikkie Kapp/Gallo Images