Sharks see off plucky Griquas
MATCH REPORT: The Sharks put in a strong second-half performance to beat Griquas 35-10 in Durban on Sunday.
The men from Kimberley held a 10-7 lead at the break at Kings Park, but as the home side found their rhythm in the second half, coupled with two yellow cards to the visitors, the Sharks had too much firepower at the back and it reflected on the scoreboard.
The home side started strongest, but the lack of game time showed in the early attacks. They enjoyed territorial advantage in the opening 10 minutes but good defence by Griquas and some sloppy handling by the Durbanites resulted in several spurred chances.
The visitors, after dispelling the early Sharks charge, started to come into the game and the upper hand in the scrums and territorial stakes.
A few promising attacks came to nothing though, but it was no real surprise to see livewire flank, Gideon van der Merwe, bursting through after 20 minutes. Stefan Ungerer (scrumhalf) had a strong burst and when he was held up, Van der Merwe ripped the ball from his own player and ran 20m to score.
George Whitehead converted and had a first penalty shot at goal after 30 minutes. He left the long-range effort short, but after a strong Griquas scrum got rewarded two minutes later, the flyhalf kicked a much easier effort to extend the lead to 10 points.
The home side were not thrown off their stride though and Anthony Volmink (wing) scored after good game management by the Sharks. They kept possession and attacked the Griquas line-out, with Volmink running in untouched after several drives. Manie Libbok (flyhalf) converted to make it a three-point game at the break.
Griquas had two attacking line-out drives stopped by the Sharks early in the second half and the home side almost got away on a counter-attack, but for a handling error with the tryline begging.
The visitors worked their way upfield, but Whitehead dragged another long-range penalty effort past the posts.
The Sharks were awarded a penalty try after 55 mins when Ungerer slapped down the ball with a number of opponents in a try-scoring position and that unfortunate incident not only cost the scrumhalf 10 minutes in the bin, but also handed the lead to the home side for the first time.
That lead was extended three minutes later when Aphelele Fassi (fullback) was worked into space after a good counter-attack by the men in black. Libbok kicked a good conversion and with a 21-10 lead the last 20 minutes looked promising for the Sharks.
With more ball possession and most of that on the front foot, the Durbanites’ backs were starting to dominate their Griquas counterparts, who were a man short. It was no surprise that from such enterprise, Thaakir Abrahams was worked over in the corner with the replacement winger’s try converted by Jordan Chiat, who took over the flyhalf duties from Libbok.
Chait was soon a try-scorer as well, as he ran on to a blistering Fassi break. The conversion pushed the lead to 35-10.
The Kimberley side’s afternoon was further spoiled when Tinus de Beer was yellow-carded for a high tackle, leaving them with six backs for the remainder of the match.
Man of the match: There were a number of candidates in the Sharks team. We decided to split the award between Aphelele Fassi and Werner Kok. They were both dangerous out wide and they gave Griquas plenty of problems when they ran at them.
Tries: Volmink, Penalty Try, Fassi, Abrahams, Chait
Cons: Libbok 2, Chait 2
Try: Van de Merwe
Yellow card: Stefan Ungerer (Griquas, 56 – Cynical play, deliberate knockdown); Tinus de Beer (Griquas, 72 – dangerous play)
Sharks: 15 Aphelele Fassi, 14 Werner Kok, 13 Jeremy Ward (captain), 12 Murray Koster, 11 Anthony Volmink, 10 Manie Libbok, 9 Grant Williams, 8 Phepsi Buthelezi, 7 Thembelani Bholi, 6 James Venter, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 JJ van der Mescht, 3 Michael Kumbirai, 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Khwezi Mona.
Replacements: 16 Fez Mbatha, 17 Ntuthuka Mchunu, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Reniel Hugo, 20 Mpilo Gumede, 21 Jaden Hendrikse, 22 Jordan Chait, 23 Thaakir Abrahams.
Griquas: 15 James Verity-Amm, 14 Daniel Kasende, 13 Harlon Klaasen, 12 Andre Swarts, 11 Eduan Keyter, 10 George Whitehead (captain), 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Siba Qoma, 7 Stefan Willemse, 6 Gideon van der Merwe, 5 Cameron Lindsay, 4 Mzwanele Zito, 3 John-Roy Jenkinson, 2 Alandre van Rooyen, 1 Nqobisizwe Mxoli.
Replacements: 16 Hendrick Luus, 17 Andrew Beerwinkel, 18 Tijde Visser, 19 Ewan Coetzee, 20 Jo-Hanko de Villiers, 21 Ashlon Davids, 22 Tinus de Beer, 23 Ederies Arendse.
Referee: AJ Jacobs
Assistant referees: Paul Mente, Archie Sehlako
TMO: Marius Jonker
Additional source: SA Rugby