Sharks end Griquas' fairytale
CURRIE CUP MATCH REPORT: The Sharks will meet the Bulls in a repeat of the previous season’s Final.
The men from Durban edged Griquas 28-24 in a bruising semifinal in Durban on Saturday, being forced to hang on desperately in the closing stages.
However, having outscored Griquas by three tries to two, the Sharks travel to Pretoria next week – where they will face the defending champion Bulls.
It was an attritional battle at Kings Park, with Griquas leaving it too late, allowing the Sharks to get into an 11 point lead (28-17) – just falling short, despite an impressive surge in the final 10 minutes.
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Sharks fullback Curwin Bosch opened the scoring with an early penalty, with Griquas flyhalf George Whitehead replying with three penalties of his own – to give the visitors a 9-3 lead at the end of a scrappy first half-hour.
The home team eventually found some rhythm – a couple of powerful line-out mauls allowing hooker Kerron van Vuuren to get an armchair ride over the line for the first try. Bosch regained the lead with the conversion – 10-9 after 32 minutes.
Soon afterwards Ashlon Davids had a try denied for a knock-on in the build-up.
Marius Louw them stretched his team’s lead with a superb line-break from another line-out maul. Bosch made it 17-9 with the conversion – which is how it stayed till half-time.
Whitehead narrowed the gap to 12-17, after a great Janco Uys turnover penalty from the second-half restart, but Bosch reclaimed the three points immediately when Griquas were penalised at the next restart.
Griquas hit straight back, with Adre Smith going over from close range – after the visitors showed some sublime interplay to open up space on the left wing. Whitehead’s conversion was wide – 17-20 after 50 minutes.
However, another powerful Sharks maul saw Van Vuuren getting his second try and the Sharks’ third. Bosch pushed the conversion attempt wide – 25-17.
A scrum penalty then saw Bosch take a shot at goal, but a waste of time saw the referee award a scrum to Griquas – as the Sharks flyhalf used more than the allowed 60 seconds.
With just over 10 minutes remaining the Sharks lost centre Marius Louw to the sin bin for a cynical foul, but soon afterwards Bosch made it 28-17 with a long-range penalty.
The Sharks now had to hang on, as Griquas launched a series of raids on their line.
With two minutes remaining it was the turn of replacement Johan Momsen to get the armchair ride from a powerful maul. Whitehead’s conversion made it 24-28.
From the restart, with very little time left on the clock, Griquas tried to launch one final raid from inside their 22. However, the Sharks defence held firm and sent their team into the Final 0- where they will face the Bulls in Pretoria next week.
Man of the Match: For Griquas, the halfback combination of George Whitehead and Stefan Ungerer gave them direction. loose forward Hanru Sirgel and Gideon van der Merwe – the latter with his work at the breakdown – were the most productive players for the visitors. For the Sharks loose forwards Henco Venter and Dylan Richardson, with their impressive workloads, made a huge contribution. Deeper into the engine room there was the muscle of burly lock Le Roux Roets. Our award goes to his second row partner – Gerbrandt Grobler, for the value he brought in the structured plays by the forwards.
For the Sharks
Tries: Van Vuuren 2, Louw
Cons: Bosch 2
Pens: Bosch 3
Tries: Smith, Momsen
Cons: Whitehead 2
Pens: Whitehead 4
Yellow card: Marius Louw (Sharks, 69 – cynical foul, killing the ball at the tackle close to the line)
Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Yaw Penxe, 13 Werner Kok, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Thaakir Abrahams, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi (captain), 7 Henco Venter, 6 Dylan Richardson, 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 4 Le Roux Roets, 3 Khutha Mchunu, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Ntuthuko Mchunu.
Replacements: 16 Dan Jooste, 17 Khwezi Mona, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Reniel Hugo, 20 Thembelani Bholi, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Anthony Volmink.
Griquas: 15 Ashlon Davids, 14 Daniel Kasende, 13 Chris Hollis, 12 Johnathan Francke, 11 Eduan Keyter, 10 George Whitehead, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Ruan Steenkamp (captain), 7 Hanru Sirgel, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Stefan Willemse, 4 Adre Smith, 3 Erich de Jager, 2 Janco Uys, 1 Nqobisizwe Mxoli.
Replacements – from: 16 Alandre van Rooyen, 17 Andrew Beerwinkel, 18 Janu Botha, 19 Cameron Lindsay, 20 Johan Momsen, 21 Raegan Oranje, 22 Tinus de beer, 23 Ederies Arendse, 24 Andrew Kuhn, 25 Mzwanele Zito, 26 Andre Swarts.
Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen
Assistant referees: Rasta Rasivhenge, Paul Mente
TMO: Egon Seconds