Griquas blitzkrieg too much for Sharks
MATCH REPORT: Griquas produced one of the most remarkable comebacks to record a bonus-point 48-40 Currie Cup Round Two win over the Sharks in Kimberley on Sunday.
Trailing by 18 points at half-time, the home team scored 38 unanswered points (five tries and a penalty) in a scintillating display of attacking rugby to claim an unassailable 20-point lead with five minutes remaining.
Two late scores were nothing more than a consolation for the visitors.
* To recap all the drama, CLICK HERE!
A dominant first half saw the Sharks take a 28-10 lead into the half-time break – tries by Francois Venter (great hands from Fred Zeilinga), Fezokuhle Mbatha (from a maul), Cameron Wright (great hands by the backline) and Yaw Penxe (team try).
Griquas had a penalty try and a penalty by Lubabalo Dobela in reply.
Three tries in eight minutes after the restart saw Griquas not only get back into the game, but also claim the lead – captain Stephan Smit, Johan Mulder and Hanru Sirgel getting the tries.
Dobela added a second penalty and Mulder got a second try, as the hosts raced into a 41-28 lead – 31 unanswered points in 25 minutes.
With just five minutes remaining, replacement hooker Janco Uys put the result beyond doubt with his team’s sixth try.
There was just enough time for Dylan Richardson to get a couple of consolation scores for the visitors – who failed to collect a second bonus point.
Griquas opened the scoring with a Lubabalo Dobela penalty after just two minutes.
The Sharks replied with a try through centre Francois Venter, after Fred Zeilinga put him into a hole.
The Sharks, who suffered through some indiscipline throughout the match, lost tighthead prop Hanro Jacobs to a yellow card for a cynical foul – collapsing a maul near his own line. The resulting penalty try saw the home team reclaim the lead.
The Durban team, in the second quarter, then took control – as Griquas lost their way.
It started with a powerful line-out maul, with Mbatha getting the armchair ride.
Just short of the half-hour mark the Sharks’ backs got in on the act – Yaw Penxe putting Marnus Potgieter into space, who in turn offloaded to scrumhalf Cameron Wright, who scored.
It then became the Venter show – James venter to his namesake Francois Venter, with the ball going wide to Henco Venter, who in turn put Penxe away for the score.
Griquas got the second half off to the perfect start. The home team won as turnover, Carl Els feeding Luther Obi, who found Stephan Smith for the start of the Blitzkrieg.
Next Dobela freed up Obi, with Jay-Cee Nel, Smith and Gustav du Rand handling the ball before Obi put Mulder clear.
The third try in that eight-minute spell resulted from a great Wright kick, with Zander du Plessis collected. The ball was worked wide to replacement Hanru Sirgel, who steamrolled over an opponent for the score.
Things went from bad to worse for the Sharks as they had Penxe sin-binned after 54 minutes.
A Dobela penalty made it 34-28, before a strong maul saw Janco Uys breaking clear and putting Mulder away for his second score.
Uys got his reward five minutes from time, sitting at the back of another powerful maul.
Dylan Richardson made a brave attempt to get his team back within striking distance, but the second of his two consolation tries came right on the full-time hooter – leaving the Sharks with only their four-try bonus-point from the trip to Kimberley.
Man of the match: You have to give credit to the Sharks’ hard-working flanks Dylan Richardson and James Venter. For Griquas, you can look at backs like Rosko Specman, Luther Obi, Lubabalo Dobela and Johan Mulder. Among the forwards starting captain Stephan Smit and replacements skipper Hanru Sirgel were also very influential. Our award goes to Griquas’ veteran utility back George Whitehead, who turned the game on its head in the second half – producing some sublime touch-finders and a couple of crucial 50-22s in a playmaking masterclass.
Tries: Penalty try, Smit, Mulder 2, Sirgel, Uys
Cons: Penalty try does not require conversion, Dobela 5
Pens: Dobela 2
For the Sharks
Tries: F Venter, Mbatha, Wright, Penxe, Richardson 2
Cons: Zeilinga 4
Yellow cards: Hanro Jacobs (Sharks, 11 – cynical foul, illegally collapsing maul near his own tryline), Yaw Penxe (Sharks, 54 – cynical foul, deliberate knock-on), Jay-Cee Nel (Griquas, 79 – foul play, high tackle)
Griquas: 15 Malcolm Jaer, 14 Rosko Specman, 13 Jay-Cee Nel, 12 Zander du Plessis, 11 Luther Obi, 10 Lubabalo Dobela, 9 Johan Mulder, 8 Carl Els, 7 Stephan Smit (captain), 6 Niel Otto, 5 Derik Pretorius, 4 Albert Liebenberg, 3 Junior Banda, 2 Gustav du Rand, 1 Kudzwai Dube.
Replacements: 16 Janco Uys, 17 Eddie Davids, 18 Cebo Dlamini, 19 Janco Venter, 20 Hanru Sirgel (captain), 21 Bobby Alexander, 22 George Whitehead, 23 Eddie Fouche.
Sharks: 15 Thaakir Abrahams, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Murray Koster (captain), 12 Francois Venter, 11 Marnus Potgieter, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Henco Venter, 7 Dylan Richardson, 6 James Venter, 5 Reniel Hugo, 4 Hyron Andrews, 3 Hanro Jacobs, 2 Fezokuhle Mbatha, 1 Khwezi Mona.
Replacements: 16 Dan Jooste, 17 Dian Bleuler, 18 Khutha Mchunu, 19 Athenkosi Khethani, 20 Marco de Witt, 21 Damon Royle, 22 Bradley Davids, 23 Lionel Cronje.
Referee: Cwengile Jadezweni
Assistant referees: Local
TMO: Ben Crouse