The Sharks kicked off their Currie Cup campaign with a comfortable 45-10 bonus-point win over the Pumas in Durban on Friday. CRAIG LEWIS reports.
As the local competition shifts from Super Rugby Unlocked to the Currie Cup, the Sharks would have wanted to make a statement of intent – particularly after last weekend’s clash against the Stormers had to be cancelled due to a Covid-19 outbreak.
In this context, the Sharks will be more than satisfied with their efforts, which epitomised the approach we have become accustomed to from the Durban-based side.
It was based around powerful forward dominance, playing in the right areas of the field, and capitalising on the opposition’s mistakes.
This was best evidenced in two opportunistic tries scored by Jeremy Ward in the first half, as well as two maul tries, and another from a Sanele Nohamba sniping break off a familiar lineout drive.
Those five tries meant the Sharks went into half-time leading 31-3, and already the game was as good as won at that point.
Unfortunately, as we have so often seen when the scoreline is as one-sided as that in the opening stanza, a bit of sting was taken out of proceedings in the second half.
And just as the Pumas finally found a footing when Phumzile Maqondwana went over for a well-deserved try at the start of the second period, the Sharks immediately hit back from the kick off as Sbu Nkosi produced a piece of magic to snatch the ball out of the air and sprint away to score.
The Bok World Cup winner does look to be in top shape, and casually pounced on a loose pass before darting away to score his second try as the Sharks cruised to a comfortable victory.
Sharks – Tries: Jeremy Ward (2), Sanele Nohamba, Kerron van Vuuren, Dylan Richardson, Sbu Nkosi (2). Conversions: Curwin Bosch (5).
Pumas – Try: Phumzile Maqondwana. Conversion: Ginter Smuts. Penalty: Smuts.
Sharks – 15 Manie Libbok, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Jeremy Ward (captain), 12 Marius Louw, 11 Madosh Tambwe, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Thembelani Bholi, 7 JJ van der Mescht, 6 Dylan Richardson, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Ox Nche.
Subs: 16 Daniel Jooste, 17 Khwezi Mona, 18 Hanro Jacobs, 19 Zain Davids, 20 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Werner Kok, 23 S’bu Nkosi.
Pumas – 15 Devon Williams, 14 Morne Joubert, 13 Erich Cronje, 12 Ali Mgijima, 11 Etienne Taljaard, 10 Theo Boshoff, 9 Ginter Smuts, 8 Francois Kleinhans, 7 Phumzile Maqondwana, 6 Daniel Maartens, 5 Pieter Janse van Vuren (captain), 4 Darrien Landsberg, 3 Ruan Kramer, 2 HP van Schoor, 1 Liam Hendriks.
Subs: 16 Marko Janse van Rensburg, 17 Wikus Groenewald, 18 Brandon Valentyn, 19 Heath Backhouse, 20 Chriswill September, 21 Wayne van der Bank, 22 Tapiwa Mafura, 23 Dewald Maritz.
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images