Sharks win, but fall short
Sat, 12 Jul 2014 19:15
Too little, too late
The Sharks won, that was the first priority. However, they did not get the four tries or 36-point advantage they required.
Despite beating the Stormers 34-10 at Newlands on Saturday, the Durban franchise failed to go past the Crusaders in second place on the Super Rugby standings.
The Sharks knew what they had to do before the match kicked off if they wanted a rest next week and then a home semifinal.
But what they were required to do was a tall order - score at least four tries and at win by at least 35 points.
They managed neither and at times did not look as if they were really trying to do so. But what they did do was score 34 points against the Stormers at Newlands, where the Bulls and the Cheetahs had failed to score a single point and the Lions had managed just three.
Moreover the Stormers had beaten the Sharks in Durban.
Perhaps they were resigned to just winning the match to build momentum for next week.
Yet at 22-10 in the first four minutes of the second half, three more tries and 23 points must have looked a real possibility but after that the Stormers dominated, pointlessly it is true but certainly in possession and territory - 73 percent of possession. But then the Sharks had a burst again in the last few minutes and scored 12 more points.
The fallow time was between 44 minutes and 75 minutes - a long time without any threat to the Crusaders who ended a point above them on the log. In that time, it seemed, the Sharks were content to let the Stormers do their best while them kept them at bay.
The outstanding features of that time were a break by Nic Groom and an all-in outburst of playground anger that did no damage but ended with a penalty against Schalk Burger.
Early in the match the Sharks attacked but Frans Steyn missed a penalty kick at goal before goaling one when Nizaam Carr went in at the side of a tackle. 3-0 after 4 minutes. There was a kicking bout but a penalty gave the Stormers an attacking line-out. The Stormers mauled and Alistair Vermaak charged. Twice the Sharks were seen infringing and the referee played advantage. Then when he stopped play Willem Alberts kicked the ball away and was sent to the sin bin. The Stormers turned the subsequent penalty into a five metre line-out and drove over the line. The assistant referee told the referee that Nizaam Carr had grounded the ball for the try. Kurt Coleman converted from far out. 7-3 to the Stormers after 16 minutes.
From the kick-off JP Pietersen and Duane Vermeulen clashed heads. Pietersen seemed knocked out and was taken off for a concussion test. He took no further part in the match, replaced by Tonderai Chavhanga. Vermeulen played on but was replaced by Siya Kolisi at half-time.
Steyn kicked two penalty goals after Tiaan Liebenberg and Coleman were penalised and after 25 minutes the Sharks were back in front at 9-7 which became 12-7 two minutes later when Michael Rhodes played a line-out jumper in the air.
The Sharks were offside at a ruck and Coleman made it 12-10 five minutes before half-time.
Then the Sharks gained unexpected profit. There was a scrum near the half-way line. The Stormers were pushing the Sharks back but Charl McLeod grabbed Groom who tried to foot the ball towards Coleman. The flykick was wide of its mark and McLeod flykicked first. He and Paul Jordaan raced after the ball as it rolled into the Stormers' in-goal and Jordaan just beat McLeod and the dead-ball line to score the try. That made the score 19-10 at half-time, the Sharks good value for their lead.
Early in the second half Vermaak was penalised at the maul and Steyn goaled. Then they shut up shop, barricaded their line and let the Stormers try their best. Three times the Stormers turned penalties into five-metre line-outs and three times the Sharks repelled them. Then the Stormers won two of the Sharks line-outs in succession and again the visitors repelled them. It became clear that next weekend the Sharks would be playing the Highlanders in Durban.
Both sides seemed playing out time, except for Schalk Burger who was his usual energetic self.
A penalty gave the Sharks a line-out near the half-way line. They won the ball going left and then Jordaan played inside to Chavhanga who burst clean through. Challenged he gave a perfect pass to Sibusiso Sithole on his left and the speedster sped to the goal-line, finishing joyously with an extravagant dive of triumph. Steyn converted hastily with a drop. 29-10 after 75 minutes.
The Stormers were going left from a ruck on the short side when Cheslin Kolbe's pass went to ground. SP Marais snapped it up and gave to replacement scrumhalf, sturdy young Stefan Ungerer who raced through 61 empty metres to score in the right corner. That score ended the match.
There were 31 983 spectators on the chilly evening at Newlands for the last Super Match there for 2014.
Man of the Match: The most obvious Stormer candidate was Schalk Burger but there were certainly obvious Sharks - lively Charl McLeod, forceful Frans Steyn, sparkling Paul Jordaan and our Man of the Match committed flank Marcell Coetzee.
For the Stormers:
For the Sharks:
Tries: Jordaan, Sithole, Ungerer
Cons: Steyn 2,
Pens: Steyn 5
Yellow card: Willem Alberts (Sharks, 14 - professional foul, in at the side and killing the ball)
Stormers: 15 Jaco Taute, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 12 Juan de Jongh, 11 Cheslin Kolbe, 10 Kurt Coleman, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger (captain), 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Michael Rhodes, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Alistair Vermaak.
Replacements: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Sti Sithole, 18 Martin Dreyer, 19 Manuel Carizza, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Peter Grant, 23 Seabelo Senatla.
Sharks: 15 SP Marais, 14 Sibusiso Sithole , 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Paul Jordaan, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Francois Steyn, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis (captain), 1 Thomas du Toit.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Etienne Oosthuizen, 20 Jean Deysel, 21 Stefan Ungerer, 22 Fred Zeilinga, 23 Tonderai Chavhanga.
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa), Quinton Immelman (South Africa)
TMO: Deon van Blommestein (South Africa)
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