Free State Turn It on at Home
CRAVEN WEEK REPORT: After a good start by the Sharks, Free State took over and eventually won 46-24 in yet-another high-scoring Craven Week match.
At least for 10 minutes, it seemed all Sharks. They were sharp in the tackles and filled with energy.
The catching and passing of both sides were below part, but as the game went on, perhaps because the players lost their inhibitions in the action, handling improved and the match became entertaining. The poor handling was a real pity as both sides were keen to run with the ball in hand.
It took visitors from across the mountains less than 10 minutes to score. First powerful wing, Derick Marshall, charged down the right and seemed to have scored but a boot was out just before he went over. Free State made a hash of the subsequent lineout, and Malwande Dlangalala was held up deep in in-goal. From the five-metre scrum, the Sharks went left and fullback Ntokozo Makhaza skipped over a try which flyhalf Jordan Hendrikse converted.
It did not take the Free State long to open their account. A penalty gave them a five-metre lineout and the maul produced a try credited to hooker André-Hugo Venter. 7-5 after 12 minutes.
Lesley Botha, wearing 12 but playing outside centre, scored the next try and it came as a surprise. There was a tackle/ruck thing inside the Free State half. The home side won a turnover which Botha latched onto, and he sprinted straight down the field for some 60 metres to score.
That gave the Free State the lead which lasted a minute as Hendrikse started a counterattack which Makhaza carried on. He gave to big wing Larry Nkonki who bumped off a defender and raced on to score. 14-12 to the Sharks. But the next try came from the kick-off.
The Sharks suffered a series of bumbles, Free State bashed and Tiaan Jonker scored in the left corner.
Three tries were scored in just four minutes, and five minutes later Botha got his second as George Cronjé tapped a penalty.
Just three minutes later, Marshall attacked down the right and the Sharks went left to Hendrikse who darted, stretched and scored.
Half-time came with the Free State leading 24-19.
In the second half, Free State scored three tries to the Sharks’ one for a final score of 46-24 which may well make the victory look more comfortable than it was.
Free State managed this despite being down to 13 men at one stage in the half after two yellow cards. The Sharks were unable to score during the Free State’s yellow period but the Free Staters did – first a penalty goal and then a remarkable try as Ian Small-Smith sped after his own flykick into the Sharks’ in-goal and dotted down a centimetre or two before the dead-ball line.
For Free State:
Tries: Venter, Botha 2, Jonker, Lintnaar, Cronjé, Small-Smith
Cons: Du Plessis 4
Pen: Du Plessis
Tries: Makhaza, Nkonki, Hendrikse, Van Huizen
Cons: Hendrikse 2
Free State: 1 Mamello Mochaliba, 2 André-Hugo Venter, 3 Tielman Nieuwoudt, 4 Monwabisi Khani, 5 Tiaan Jonker, 6 Deon le Roux, 7 Boela Manyala, 8 George Cronjé (captain), 9 Elmar Lintnaar, 10 FC du Plessis, 11 Paschal Ekeji, 12 Kian Fransman, 13 Lesley Botha, 14 R Maurice, 15 Sonwabo Sokoyi, 16 Ricardo Fourie, 17 Jan-Hendrik Wessels, 18 Mamelo Letsoalo, 19 Sisonke Vumazonke, 20 Nhlanhla Senoamadi, 21 Juan-Dee Olivier, 22 Ian Small-Smith, 23 Katleho Chabane.
Sharks: 1 Teague Loelly, 2 Okuhle Siyeni, 3 Blaine Golden, 4 Wandile Hlophe, 5 Ockie Barnard, 6 Malwande Dlangalala, 7 Sasko Ndlovu (captain), 8 Ranger Mfakadolo, 9 Nico Steyn, 10 Jordan Hendrikse, 11 Larry Nkonki, 12 Mambo Mkhize, 13 Latica Nela, 14 Derick Marshall, 15 Ntokozo Makhaza, 16 Danie van Huizen, 17 Ryan Francis, 18 Vernon Matongo, 19 Siya Ningiza, 20 Massimo Fierro, 21 Anele Nzimande, 22 Ruan Wilmans, 23 Simelela Nkomo.
Referee: Paul Mente
Assistant referees: Morné Ferreira, Aaron Parry Wales)
TMO: Lourens van der Merwe