Sharks sail past pointless Kings
REPORT: The Sharks ran riot in a soaked Kings Park Stadium to claim an emphatic 53-0 bonus point victory over the Eastern Province Kings in Durban on Saturday.
It was far from pleasant playing conditions as heavy rains ensured a near-flooded playing surface which brought back memories of the 1995 World Cup semifinal between the Springboks and France. Despite the conditions, the Sharks still managed to run in nine tries and keep the Kings scoreless in the process.
The home side made the ideal start with a try inside the opening five minutes through Andre Esterhuizen. The Sharks maintained possession and showed good patience to create an overlap on the outside to grab the opening points of the game. Curwin Bosch hit the upright with his conversion attempt to leave the score at 5-0 after five minutes.
They then scored two tries in the space of five minutes to stamp their dominance on the encounter, thanks to two well-executed setpieces. A 12th minute line-out five metres from the Kings' try line saw them set a maul that rumbled its way over. Chilliboy Ralepelle emerged with it.
Bosch made up for his earlier miss by slotting home the conversion. 12-0 after 13 minutes.
Jean-Luc du Preez benefitted from a second successful rolling maul, this time though, the Sharks advanced it 22 metres in the 17th minute. Bosch failed with the conversion attempt but the home side had a healthy 17-0 lead.
With the rain making things tricky, the home side bagged their bonus point in the 30th minute with a moment of magic from fullback Bosch. He collected the ball just inside the Kings' half and went on a mazy run, beaten a few defenders in the process.
His pass found Inny Radebe on the outside and the flyhalf used his speed, and the slippery field, to slide over in the corner. Bosch slammed home his second conversion of the match to ensure a 24-0 lead and it remained that way as the teams went into the half-time break.
It was much of the same at the resumption of play with the Sharks remaining on the front foot and the rain continuing to pelt down.
Scrumhalf Michael Claassens was the next to get his name on the scoreboard when he benefitted from a massive scrum on the Kings' five metre line. The scoring did not stop there though as No.8 Francois Kleinhans grabbed his side's sixth try.
Another well-executed set-play saw the Sharks set up a second phase after claiming the line-out. Kleinhans used his strength to get through two defenders to dot down in the 48th minute. Patrick Lambie calmly slotted the conversion with his first kick of the match.
Five minutes later and it was lock Etienne Oosthuizen's turn to add his name onto the scorers list with a 53rd minute score. Lambie failed with the conversion attempt though but the Sharks had extended their lead to 41-0.
The floodgates remained open in the 60th minute when the Sharks had another line-out five metres from the Kings' line. They sent the ball through the hands and found Wandile Mjekevu on the outside and the wing obliged with a five-pointer. Once again, Lambie was unable to add the extras but the lead stretched to 46-0 after 61 minutes.
The Kings, who never came close to the Sharks' 22 all match, gained some momentum from that point. However, they failed to turn that momentum into any points.
Khaya Majola put the icing on the cake in the 79th minute when he peeled around the fringes to secure the ninth try. Lambie popped over the conversion to ensure the rout.
Man of the match: Each of the Sharks players contributed to the rout and to single out any individual would be a travesty. However, the platform for the victory was laid up front and therefore the entire Sharks pack gets the nod.
For the Sharks:
Tries: Esterhuizen, Ralepelle, du Preez, Radebe, Claassens, Kleinhans, Oosthuizen, Mjekevu, Majola
Cons: Bosch 2, Lambie 2
For Eastern Province Kings: None
Sharks: 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Rhyno Smith, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Wandile Mjekevu, 10 Inny-Christian Radebe, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Francois Kleinhans, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Khaya Majola, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 John-Hubert Meyer, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle (captain), 1 Thomas du Toit.
Replacements: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Jean Droste, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Stefan Ungerer, 21 Patrick Lambie, 22 Neil Maritz.
Eastern Province Kings: 15 Lungelo Gosa, 14 Siwivive Soyizwapi, 13 Burton Klaasen, 12 Waylon Murray, 11 Sampie Mastriet, 10 Pieter Steyn de Wet, 9 Ricky Schroeder (captain), 8 Christiaan de Bruin, 7 Brandon Brown, 6 Vincent Jhobo, 5 Sebastian Ferreira, 4 Dylan Pieterse, 3 Justin Forwood, 2 Martin Bezuidenhout, 1 Barend Potgieter.
Replacements: 16 Warrick Venter, 17 Vukile Sofisa, 18 Etienne Oosthuizen, 19 Luke van der Smit, 20 Vian van der Watt, 21 Minenhle Mthethwa, 22 Alcino Isaacs.
Referee: Cwengile Jadezweni
Assistant referees: Stuart Berry, Archie Sehlako
TMO: Willie Vos