Sharks put down pre-season marker
MATCH REPORT: The Sharks put down an important marker when they beat the defending-champion Stormers 21-12 in a United Rugby Championship pre-season outing in Port Elizabeth on Friday.
The Sharks, making better use of a stiff breeze and their fleet-footed backs, outscored the Stormers by three tries to two.
In contrast, both the Stormers’ tries came from mauls – the first a penalty try from an illegally collapsed maul and the second after a powerful maul went close.
The Stormers were under defensive pressure early – as first Junior Pokomela and then Suleiman Hartzenberg were shown early yellow cards.
Despite playing for 20 minutes with just 14 men, they defended manfully to hold the Sharks out.
The Durban side eventually scored from a counter-attack sparked in their own half and finished off by Curwin Bosch.
The scores were level soon afterwards, as the Stormers forwards made great use of their first attacking opportunity in the 22 with a penalty try awarded from a dominant maul.
The Sharks forced their way over for a second try on the stroke of half-time to take a seven-point lead into the break.
The Stormers XV hit back straight after half-time with a try from Pokomela in the corner from a maul.
However, the Sharks responded with a try from wing Thaakir Abrahams to make it 21-12.
Both teams made a number of changes in the second half to give as many players as possible game time, which saw the game lose some continuity.
For the Sharks
Tries: Bosch, Mchunu, Abrahams
Cons: Bosch 2, Chamberlain
For the Stormers
Tries: Penalty try, Pokomela
Con: Penalty try does not require a conversion
Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Yaw Penxe, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Grant Williams, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Dylan Richardson, 6 James Venter, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Justin Basson, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Ntuthuko Mchunu.
Replacements – from: Dan Jooste, Fez Mbatha, Dian Bleuler, Carlu Sadie, Thembelani Bholi, Gerbrandt Grobler, Phendulani Buthelezi, Zee Mkhabela, Henry Chamberlain, Marnus Potgieter, Thaakir Abrahams.
Stormers: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Tristan Leyds, 13 Suleiman Hartzenberg, 12 Dan du Plessis, 11 Chris Hollis, 10 Kade Wolhuter, 9 Paul de Wet, 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Ernst van Rhyn (captain), 6 Junior Pokomela, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Connor Evans, 3 Neethling Fouche, 2 Andre-Hugo Venter, 1 Ali Vermaak.
Replacements – from: 16 Chad Solomon, 17 Kwenzo Blose, 18 Sazi Sandi, 19 Gary Porter, 20 Paul de Villiers, 21 Louwan Horn, 22 Marcel Theunissen, 23 Imad Khan, 24 Seabelo Senatla, 25 Mnombo Zwelendaba, 26 Godlen Masimla.
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: Griffin Colby, Stephan Geldenhuys