Sharks leave it late to down Blues

Sat, 29 Jun 2013 14:38
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A last-minute try from Riaan Viljoen saw the Sharks squeeze out a 22-20 win over the Blues in Durban on Saturday.

A last-minute try from Riaan Viljoen saw the Sharks squeeze out a 22-20 win over the Blues in Durban on Saturday.

Having trailed 17-5 at half-time, the Blues managed to keep the home side scoreless in the second half until the last minute when they held a slender 20-17 lead.

However, the home side showed good patience in their quest for the winning try, and were rewarded when Viljoen crashed over with time running out.

In a tussle of two halves amid perfect mid-winter conditions in Durban, the Sharks dominated the opening exchanges and should have enjoyed a bigger lead than 17-5 by half-time at Kings Park.

Superb scrumming by the home side was a feature of the first 40 minutes and although they continued to have the upper hand in this area after the interval, the Blues saw more of the ball in the second half and turned it into points.

Right wing Frank Halai went over for his second try two minutes after half-time and just a few minutes after All Black Ranger came on he picked up a loose ball to dot down and flyhalf Chris Noakes converted.

It was 17-17 with 30 minutes left and the Blues edged in front just past the hour mark when another replacement back, playmaker Baden Kerr, succeeded with his only penalty kick.

The Blues, needing a victory to boost chances of a top-six finish and a place in the knock-out phase of the competition, clung to the three-point advantage as time ticked away.

But the Sharks, boosted by the entry off the bench of hooker Bismarck du Plessis for his first Super Rugby appearance in almost a year after a knee injury, applied constant late, multi-phase pressure.

However, the efforts of backs and forwards were being halted just short of the Blues try-line until the Sharks sent the ball down the line and Viljoen took his chance to score a third Super Rugby try this season.

It was good end to a troubled week for the Durban outfit with New Zealand-born coach John Plumtree parting ways after a seven losses in 13 outings, having taken them to the final last year.

While the victory leaves Sharks with a slender mathematical chance of making the top six, they would need bonus-point South African derby wins away to the Bulls and home to Kings, and other results to go their way.

The Blues are also still in the reckoning and as they recover from this bruising battle, will hope the Stormers do them a big favour later Saturday and beat fellow South Africans and top-six occupants the Cheetahs.

Flank Marcell Coetzee and scrumhalf Charl McLeod were the Sharks' other try scorers and while flyhalf Patrick Lambie missed five of eight goal kicks, his two conversions and penalty took him past the 500-point Super Rugby mark.

Man of the match: The Sharks were dominant at scrum-time largely thanks to Bok loosehead Tendai Mtawarira who also got around the park well and made some valuable ground.

The scorers:

For the Sharks:
Tries:
Coetzee, McLeod
Cons: Lambie 2
Pen: Lambie

For the Blues:
Tries:
Halai 2, Ranger
Con: Noakes
Pen: Kerr

Sharks: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Odwa Ndungane, 13 Louis Ludik, 12 Andrew James, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Keegan Daniel (captain), 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Edwin Hewitt, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Jandre Marais, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Jacques Botes, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Jaco van Tonder.

Blues: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Frank Halai, 13 Jackson Willison, 12 Francis Saili, 11 George Moala, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Luke Braid, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Anthony Boric, 3 Angus Ta'avao, 2 James Parsons, 1 Tim Perry.
Replacements: 16 Quentin Macdonald, 17 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 18 Kane Barrett/Culum Retallick, 19 Brendon O'Connor, 20 Jamison Gibson-Park, 21 Baden Kerr, 22 Rene Ranger.
 
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Tiaan Jonker (South Africa), Reuben Rossouw (South Africa)
TMO: Willie Roos (South Africa)

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 28 April 2017
Highlanders v Stormers 07h35 Dunedin
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 18h05 Cardiff
Edinburgh v Dragons 18h35 Myreside
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 RDS Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 29 April 2017
Chiefs v Sunwolves 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
Ospreys v Ulster 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Munster 17h05 Stadio Monigo
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Connacht v Scarlets 18h35 Sportsground
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
Bulls v Cheetahs 20 | 14
Munster v Saracens 10 | 26
Force v Chiefs 7 | 16
Crusaders v Stormers 57 | 24
Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
Fri, 21 April 2017
Lions v Jaguares 24 | 21
Waratahs v Kings 24 | 26
Hurricanes v Brumbies 56 | 21
Mon, 17 April 2017
UP-Tuks v Maties 28 | 21
Sun, 16 April 2017
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
Treviso v Edinburgh 21 | 6
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 8 3 0 5 17
Reds 8 2 0 6 10
Force 7 2 0 5 9
Waratahs 8 2 0 6 9
Rebels 7 1 1 5 7
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 8 8 0 0 36
Hurricanes 8 7 0 1 33
Chiefs 8 7 0 1 33
Highlanders 8 5 0 3 23
Blues 8 3 0 5 17
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 8 6 0 2 26
Bulls 8 3 0 5 14
Cheetahs 8 2 0 6 10
Sunwolves 8 1 0 7 5
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 8 7 0 1 32
Sharks 8 5 1 2 24
Jaguares 8 4 0 4 20
Kings 8 2 0 6 10