Sharks down Canes in brutal scrap

The Sharks were made to fight for the spoils in their 27-9 victory against the Hurricanes on Saturday, reports JON CARDINELLI.

The final score did not reflect a brutally physical and closely contested tussle. The Sharks looked ominous in the opening quarter, with their scrum proving especially destructive. Their momentum was, however, stalled by a determined performance by the Hurricanes at the breakdown.

Willem Alberts crashed over in the 20th minute after a great drive by the Sharks' forwards, but otherwise the Sharks struggled to turn pressure into points. The Hurricanes were fiercely physical at the point of contact, and not only managed to slow the Sharks' ruck recycle, but in some instances forced turnovers.

Referee Andrew Lees missed a number of transgressions at the breakdown, and it was the Hurricanes who adapted to the official's lenience in this facet. While robust and determined, the Sharks were often guilty of not protecting their own ball. They also conceded a lot of possession via a forced pass or a poor decision.

Excellent goal-kicking by flyhalf Pat Lambie kept the Sharks in front, but it was a brilliant intercept by Lwazi Mvovo in the 65th minute that allowed the hosts to take control of the game.

A late yellow card for replacement Adam Hill killed off any chances of a Hurricanes comeback. Lambie kicked a further penalty goal to confirm the result and give the scoreline a flattering look.

Nevertheless, the Sharks have now won two from two, and will improve as the season progresses. The Hurricanes also made a statement with this physical performance, and could give the Stormers a fright at Newlands next week.

Sharks – Tries: Willem Alberts, Lwazi Mvovo. Conversion: Pat Lambie. Penalties: Lambie (5).
Hurricanes –  Penalties: Beauden Barrett (2), Marty Banks.

Sharks – 15 SP Marais, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis (c), 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Stephan Lewies, 20 Jean Deysel, 21 Charl McLeod, 22 Heimar Williams, 23 S'bura Sithole.

Hurricanes – 15 Marty Banks, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith (c), 12 Hadleigh Parks, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Jack Lam, 6 Faifili Levave, 5 Mark Abbott, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Jeffrey Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Ben Franks.
Subs: 16 Motu Matu'u, 17 Chris Eves, 18 John Schwalger, 19 Mark Reddish, 20 Adam Hill, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Alapati Leiua, 23 James Marshall.

Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

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Jon Cardinelli