Dynamic Sharks ambush Reds
Sat, 21 Jul 2012 11:23
The Sharks put on a powerful display in Brisbane to beat the Reds 30-17 and knock the defending champions out in fine style.
The determined victory which saw the visitors produce remarkable intensity on attack and defence, means that the Sharks will travel to Cape Town to play the Stormers in an all-South African semifinal next week whilst the Crusaders will square up to the Chiefs in Hamilton.
The Durban side took their opportunities well and showed plenty of commitment to stun the Reds who were never allowed into the game as the Sharks blended power and precision to end their title defence.
The visitors absorbed some early territorial pressure from the Reds before launching a series of telling attacks which seriously tested the home team's defensive mettle.
The Sharks created some good momentum as their powerful ball-carriers linked well and exposed the Reds out wide. They managed to turn their field position into points when flyhalf Frederic Michalak knocked over a penalty from in front of the poles, and they kept their foot on the gas as a well-worked try put them in control at 10-0 shortly afterwards.
After some superb work from Marcell Coetzee who made a clean break down the blindside and found some good support, the ball was shifted wide quickly to JP Pietersen who made the most of the space to finish neatly in the right corner.
The Reds had been rattled and they responded by opening the game up and running the ball at the Sharks with ferocity, but they were punished by a devastating counter-attack from the visitors.
The ball was turned over inside their own half and they found themselves with a huge overlap on the right once more, which they made the most of with some slick interplay.
Outside centre Paul Jordaan sent it to Pietersen out wide and he beat one tackle before slipping the ball to his captain Keegan Daniel who produced a clever pass to put Jordaan away on the outside, and he was able to step inside the last defender with ease to go over for a try which gave his team a commanding 17-0 lead.
The Reds had been disrupted by an injury to flyhalf Ben Lucas, with captain Will Genia forced to shift to the playmaker role, and they were being hit hard in the tackle by a Sharks team that was playing with considerable intensity.
Inside centre Mike Harris got the home side on the board with a penalty, but that was soon cancelled out by a Michalak drop-goal as the Sharks continued to put the squeeze on in Reds territory.
A sloppy pass from Michalak gave the Reds an opportunity to strike back and Genia needed no second invitation as he got over for the try which gave his side some valuable momentum just before half-time.
The Reds continued to press, and had a great attacking opportunity in the Sharks 22, but the ball was lost forward by Higginbotham and the sides went into the half-time break with the Sharks 20-10 ahead.
The Reds bolted out of the changerooms as they took the game to the Sharks at the start of the second half, but they were left frustrated as the visitors were the next team to score through an intecept try from scrumhalf Charl McLeod.
The Reds were desperate to hit back and they launched a period of sustained pressure in the Sharks 22, but the Sharks were equally determined on defence and showed plenty of character to absorb everything the Reds had to throw at them.
The visitors broke out of their 22 thanks to a weaving run from Lwazi Mvovo who stepped past a series of defenders before getting the pass away and the forwards took over as Willem Alberts stormed ahead.
He got it away to Bismarck du Plessis who slung a one-handed pass out to Meyer Bosman in the 22 and the replacement back looked certain to score but somehow lost the ball forward in front of the open tryline.
The Reds played hard until the final whistle as they desperately tried to find a way back into the contest, but the Sharks held out and a late penalty from Michalak made the game safe.
To their credit the Reds fought to the bitter end and after Sharks replacement Steven Sykes was shown a yellow card for entering a ruck from the side they were rewarded for their endeavour with a try to veteran Radike Samo, but it was little more than a consolation.
Man of the match: There were plenty of stars for the Sharks with Bismarck du Plessis and Keegan Daniel making a big impression and their outside backs all showing some slick touches but the star of the show was all-action flank Marcell Coetzee who was everywhere and had the Reds under constant pressure.
Moment of the match: The first two tries from the Sharks saw some breathtaking interplay but the most startling moment came when Bismarck du Plessis found Meyer Bosman with a sensational one-handed pass only for the replacement to dive too early for the tryline and lose the ball forward.
Villain of the match: There were none.
For the Reds:
Tries: Genia, Samo
Cons: Harris, Genia
For the Sharks:
Tries: Pietersen, Jordaan, McLeod
Cons: Michalak 3
Pens: Michalak 2
Yellow card: Steven Sykes (repeated infringements - 80 mins)
Reds: 15 Luke Morahan, 14 Dom Shipperley, 13 Anthony Faingaa, 12 Mike Harris, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Ben Lucas, 9 Will Genia (captain), 8 Scott Higginbotham, 7 Liam Gill, 6 Jake Schatz, 5 Adam Wallace-Harrison, 4 Rob Simmons, 3 James Slipper, 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Greg Holmes.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Ben Daley, 18 Radike Samo, 19 Jarrad Butler, 20 Beau Robinson, 21 Nick Frisby, 22 Ben Tapuai.
Sharks: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Tim Whitehead, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Frederic Michalak, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Keegan Daniel (captain), 5 Anton Bresler, 4 Willem Alberts, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Steven Sykes, 19 Jacques Botes, 20 Cobus Reinach, 21 Meyer Bosman, 22 Odwa Ndungane.
Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Craig Joubert (South Africa), James Leckie (Australia)
TMO: Matt Goddard (Australia)
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