Griquas upset sloppy Sharks
CURRIE CUP MATCH REPORT: Griquas got the 2019 season underway with an upset 37-13 win over the defending-champion Sharks at a wet Durban on Friday.
The wet conditions, after some rain before kick-off, resulted in both teams struggling with their handling. The litany of errors made for a stop-start first half.
However, in the second half Griquas – who took a slender 10-6 lead into the break – scored three fine tries to take the game away from their hosts.
The Griquas pack executed their set pieces – especially the line-outs and mauls – far more clinical, while the Sharks looked haphazard at times.
At the breakdown, the Griquas pack was far more energetic and on defence Griquas were also far more accurate, keeping the Sharks tryless for more than an hour.
Griquas captain George Whitehead praised his forwards for their outstanding work.
“With a forward pack like that, it is a pleasure to play,” Whitehead said, adding that their kicking game paid off.
Sharks captain Lubabalo Mtembu paid credit to Griquas for their game plan.
“You need to know when to play and when to kick,” he said of the wet conditions.
“It is something we have to fix.”
* As it happened: To recap all the drama, CLICK HERE!
Griquas got off to the perfect start, Zak Burger crashing over from close range in the third minute – after No.8 Neill Jordaan made the most of turnover ball, with a break and charge upfield.
The Sharks’ discipline also let them down and when Jacques Vermeulen failed to roll away at a tackle George Whitehead had a shot at goal – but was wide of the target.
As the game moved into the second quarter, Griquas coughed up a penalty in their half – also for illegal tactics at the breakdown – and Curwin Bosch opened his team’s account – 3-7. Five minutes later another breakdown penalty allowed Bosch to make it a one-point game – 6-7.
Four minutes from the break the Sharks were penalised at tackle-type-ruck (just a pile of bodies) and Whitehead stretched his team’s lead to 10-6 – the half-time score.
The second half also started with an early Griquas try – Michal Haznar pouncing on the ball, after two Sharks players collided in the air and the ball was spilt back over their own tryline.
Whitehead made that 20-6 after 51 minutes, as the Sharks were penalised at a scrum. That became 23-6, after a breakdown penalty against the Sharks in the 62nd-minute.
The home team got their first try in the 65th minute – Lubabalo Mtembu opening up the defence, from a neat pass by JP Pietersen, who followed up and was just pulled up short of the tryline. Cameron Wright picked up and went over from the subsequent ruck. Bosch kicked the conversion to make it 13-20.
Whitehead slotted a penalty and replacement hooker Wilmar Arnoldi scored Griquas’ third try, getting an armchair ride at the back of a massive rolling maul. Whitehead added the conversion, making it 30-13 with eight minutes remaining on the clock.
Arnoldi got his second minutes later, another maul that moved over the Sharks line at a great rate of knots. Whitehead made it 37-13 with five minutes remaining – the full-time score.
Man of the match: Aphelele Fassi caused the Griquas defence massive headaches, despite the slippery conditions, and produced amazing clearance kicks under great pressure. Curwin Bosch showed he does have the kicking game to play at flyhalf in wet conditions. However, his execution let him down at times. The Griquas pack, as a unit, was the real difference. It would be unfair to single out individuals, as they were all outstanding. Anthony Volmink was exquisite in his chasing of the many up-and-under launched by the scrumhalf and flyhalf. George Whitehead showed his experience and calm demeanour, often turning the pressure back onto the Sharks with his educated boot. Scrumhalf Zak Burger played an important role as a sweeper on defence. His boot also caused chaos within the Sharks ranks and he wins our award.
For the Sharks:
Pens: Bosch 2
Tries: Burger, Haznar, Arnoldi 2
Cons: Whitehead 4
Pens: Whitehead 3
Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Jeremy Ward (co-captain), 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Cameron Wright, 8 Lubabalo Mtembu (co-captain), 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Luke Stringer, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Juan Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Mzamo Majola, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Gideon Koegelenberg, 20 Phendulani Buthelezi, 21 Sanele Nohamba, 22 Marius Louw, 23 Rhyno Smith.
Griquas: 15 Anthony Volmink, 14 Ederies Arendse, 13 Michal Haznar, 12 Andre Swarts, 11 Enver Brandt, 10 George Whitehead (captain), 9 Zak Burger, 8 Neill Jordaan, 7 Sias Koen, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Victor Sekekete, 4 Ian Groenewald, 3 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 2 AJ Le Roux, 1 Khwezi Mona.
Replacements: 16 Wilmar Arnoldi, 17 Mox Moxili, 18 NJ Oosthuizen, 19 Johan Momsen, 20 Zandre Jordaan, 21 Chriswell September, 22 Tinus de Beer, 23 Eduan Keyter.
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: Vusi Msibi and Archie Sehlako
TMO: Christie du Preez
* Picture credit Wayne Seagreen