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Sharks rain on WP parade

Sat, 11 Aug 2012 18:54
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There was lightning and thunder and the rain came bucketing down. The end result for Newlands-based Western Province also left them cold
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The Sharks produced the first upset of the Currie Cup, a 25-23 win over Western Province at a soggy Newlands on Saturday.

It was the coldest day of the year at Newlands and the wettest. There was lightning and thunder and the rain came bucketing down. The end result for Newlands-based Western Province also left them cold.

At the start of the game the dancing girls in their skimpy togs, danced in the rain, hair plastered but still smiling. At the end of the game the Sharks were the ones singing in the rain while the home side looked bedraggled in morale, as their captain announced: "We played against ourselves."

After record-breaking wanderings the Sharks swam into Newlands with a great display of character and opportunism.

They turned 20 percent of possession into enough to win - with the help of the home side. They deserved the support they had in the skimpy crowd of 6 279, the majority of whom sounded and looked like Shark supporters.

Western Province led the first half 13-3 and they looked a winning team.

They had a bit of wind on their side but it was not really a factor, largely staying away as did most Western Province supporters. Western Province looked like a team wanting to run with the ball and they looked good when they did so. But their hands and the resolute defence of the Sharks kept them out. In fact both tries they scored were mauling things.

When there was kicking to be done, the Sharks looked much, much better - thanks to Riaan Viljoen. Simple kicks of his produced three tries for the Sharks. In the end a kick could have won the match for Western Province but it failed.

Western Province were better at the set pieces, even taking a tighthead in a scrum and getting four of the Sharks' line-outs while keeping their own.

It was not only kicking that was the difference. It was also speed. The Sharks defended at greater speed and snapped up chances with greater speed. Speed counts.

In the first 11 minutes the Sharks were penalised 11 times to nil. (In the game the penalty count was 14-5 against the Sharks as the  Western Province were not penalised at all in the second half.) Some of the penalties were silly.

Western Province mauled from a line-out and Jandré Marais went in the side and was penalised. Western Province kicked the penalty out  and mauled, and Jandré Marais went in the side and was penalised. That's silly.

This time Joe Pietersen goaled from five metres in from touch. 3-0 after 5 minutes. Steven Sykes tackled high and Pietersen goaled. 6-0 after 11 minutes.

The Western Province try also came from a penalty. They turned it into a five-metre line-out, mauled and drove over. Tiaan Liebenberg is the man who grounded the ball. 13-0 after 18 minutes.

Then the Sharks started to get back into the game, not on equal terms, but back. Jaco Reinach broke and that seemed to get their hearts up. And then there was Viljoen's boot. He kicked a penalty from his own 10-metre line out five metres from the Western Province line. The Sharks were hot on the attack but Fourie won a turnover. Then JP du Plessis was penalised at a tackle and Meyer Bosman goaled. 13-3, which was the half-time score.

The first four minutes of the second half set up the Sharks' victory.

Western Province kicked off to start the half and 32 seconds later the Sharks scored. They won the ball from the kick-off, Viljoen chipped in gentle fashion. Bosman grabbed the bouncing ball and passed to Paul Jordaan on his right. The outside centre swerved past Burton Francis and then swerved past Joe Pietersen and then ran away from Aplon to score - 13-8.

Francis kicked. Viljoen marked, tapped and ran. He chipped and Western Province were scrambling near their line.

Francis kicked. Viljoen kicked high. Western Province let it bounce. Craig Burden grabbed the ball, swerved past Pietersen and raced 30 metres to surf over for  the try - 15-13 after 44 minutes.

At this stage Jordaan, who had damaged his hamstring in scoring his brilliant try, was replaced by Marius Joubert. Joubert was penalised for a high tackle and Pietersen goaled to get the lead back for Western Province - 16-15 after 54 minutes.

Viljoen kicked off. Jebb Sinclair and De Kock Steenkamp confused each other and knocked the ball back. Burden raced onto it, grabbed it, got away from Aplon's despairing drive and, nobody else around, scored a try - 22-16 after 55 minutes.

Western Province attacked from time to time and Viljoen's boot drove them away from time to time. Then Jacques Botes's brain exploded.

Francis had been replaced by Gary van Aswegen, back from long injury. He and Botes were running for a ball. Van Aswegen was ahead of Botes who then hacked his legs from under him. The referee sent Botes to the sin bin.

Western Province kicked the penalty out, mauled and enabled Fourie to fall down for the try. It was a difficult kick but Pietersen made it 23-22 to Western Province with nine minutes to play, but there was a kick-off to come.

Viljoen kicked off a long way. Louis Schreuder stretched up a hand for the ball which was flying past him. He had no chance of catching the ball but he touched it. The ball went into touch, giving the Sharks a five-metre line-out. They bashed till they had Viljoen in an ideal position in front of the posts and the flyhalf snapped over a drop - 25-23 with seven minutes to play.

Western Province kicked off directly into touch but they won a tighthead from the scrum. They ran, Van Aswegen grubbered and Joubert and Jean Deysel tackled him late. That gave Pietersen a very kickable chance to win the match, but he pulled the kick to the left with 4 minutes to play.

Viljoen dropped out deep and Western Province wanted to run but Pietersen knocked on. Western Province got the ball back and tried to run themselves back onto the attack but Du Plessis lost the ball in a tackle and the Sharks were delighted to have won.

Man of the Match: Riaan Viljoen. As he had done for the Sharks in the semifinal of Super Rugby he kicked Western Province into submission and his side into a winning situations. He was the biggest factor in his side's victory.

The scorers:

For Western Province:
Tries: Liebenberg, Fourie
Con: Pietersen 2
Pens: Pietersen 3

For  the Sharks:
Tries: Jordaan, Burden 2
Cons: Bosman 2
Pen: Bosman
DG: Viljoen

Yellow card: Jacques Botes (Sharks, 67 - foul play, tripping)

Teams:

Western Province: 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 JP du Plessis, 12 Marcel Brache, 11 Gio Aplon, 10 Burton Francis, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Jebb Sinclair, 7 Tyrone Holmes, 6 Deon Fourie (captain), 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Don Armand, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Deon Carstens.
Replacements: 16 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 19 Yaya Hartzenberg, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Gary van Aswegen, 22 Damian de Allende.

Sharks: 15 Gouws Prinsloo, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Meyer Bosman, 11 S'bura Sithole, 10 Riaan Viljoen, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Tera Mtembu, 7 Jean Deysel (captain), 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Jandré Marais, 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Dale Chadwick.
Replacements: 16 Monde Hadebe, 17 Julian Redelinghuys, 18 Peet Marais, 19 Francois Kleinhans, 20 Conrad Hoffmann, 21 Marius Joubert, 22 Rosko Specman.

Referee: Lourens van der Merwe
Assistant referees: Jason Jaftha, Marc van Zyl
TMO: JC Fortuin

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