Griquas reduced to 14 men
The Sharks recorded their first Currie Cup win in Kimberley in three years, with a hard-earned 25-24 win over Griquas on Saturday.
It was a yellow card to Griqua captain Ryno Barnes and a try by Wiehahn Herbst five minutes from time that gave the Sharks the one-point lead and victory - in a game that produced plenty of drama, but was also marked by some very ordinary handling skills from both sides.
The goal-kicking also left a lot to be desired - with the Sharks combination of Andrew James (three penalties) and young Fred Zeilinga (two penalties) just shading Francois Brummer (one conversion and four penalties).
The Sharks started at a frantic pace and progressed straight from the kick off to Griquas half.
The hosts infringed and the visitors flyhalf Andrew James kicked the resulting penalty.
Griquas are traditionally a side that never let up and the hosts recovered quickly. They progressed nicely to five metres from the Sharks goal line, with full back PJ Vermeulen breaking his ankle in the process.
Griquas kept their cool after losing one of their key players to injury and put the Sharks under immense pressure.
Finally, that paid off when the Sharks infringed and flyhalf Francois Brummer kicked a penalty to draw the scores level.
Brummer was called on again shortly thereafter and kicked another penalty with ease to give the hosts the lead with a little more than 20 minutes remaining in the first half.
Griquas discipline against the Golden Lions last week was their undoing and a lack thereof also gave the Sharks ample opportunity to kick at goal.
James kicked his second penalty goal of the match in the 22nd minute to level the scores at six points all.
Brummer put the hosts in the lead once again, after the Sharks infringed twice in as many minutes.
The Sharks went on to score their first try of the match via wing Sizo Maseko. James failed to convert, leaving the visitors one point short.
Griquas then had the last say when flank Marnus Schoeman burst over from a rolling maul to score the hosts first try. Brummer however could not convert.
The Sharks got the second half underway with a penalty by James to reduce the deficit to three points, but a knock on by scrum half Charl McLeod gave the hosts a good attacking opportunity.
Griquas could not capitalise immediately, but scored soon thereafter when flank Burger Schoeman burst over from a heel against the head. Brummer converted.
Replacement flyhalf Fred Zeilinga kicked a penalty in the 61st minute to bring the Sharks within seven points, but the visitors still had plenty of work to do.
Zeilinga later kicked another penalty, bringing his side within striking distance.
The Sharks kept the momentum and capitalised when Wiehan Herbst scored the winning try five minutes from time - coming after a Sharks maul had been stopped short of the line and Herbst had barged his way over.
Man of the match: Howard Mnisi ran hard, Francois Brummer kicked well, Burger Schoeman and Marnus Schoeman were inspirational at the breakdown. Kyle Cooper had his moments, Jean Deysel was a brute, and Wiehahn Herbst scored the match-winning try. However, our award goes to industrious Sharks captain Jacques Botes.
Tries: M Schoeman, B Schoeman
Pens: Brummer 4
For the Sharks:
Tries: Maseko, Herbst
Pens: James 3, Zeilinga 2
Yellow card: Ryno Barnes (Griquas, 74 - repeated offence at the breakdown)
Griquas: 15 PJ Vermeulen, 14 Nico Scheepers, 13 JP Nel, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Rocco Jansen, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Marnus Hugo, 8 Carel Greeff, 7 Burger Schoeman, 6 Marnus Schoeman, 5 Victor Kruger, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Ryno Barnes (captain), 1 Steph Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Matt Dobson, 17 Brummer Badenhorst, 18 Patrick O'Brien, 19 RJ Liebenberg, 20 Jacques Coetzee, 21 Du Randt Gerber, 22 Gouws Prinsloo.
Sharks: 15 SP Marais, 14 Sizo Maseko, 13 Louis Ludik, 12 Tim Whitehead, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Andrew James, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Jacques Botes (captain), 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Edwin Hewitt, 3 Wiehahn Herbst, 2 Kyle Cooper, 1 Danie Mienie.
Replacements: 16 Monde Hadebe, 17 Dale Chadwick, 18 Peet Marais, 19 Justin Downey, 20 Cobus Reinach, 21 Fred Zeilinga, 22 Jaco van Tonder.
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant Referees: Jason Jaftha, Francois de Bruin
TMO: Willie Roos