Sharks sneak it at the death
SUPER RUGBY REPORT: The Sharks scored a try after the hooter for full-time gad sounded to steal a 27-22 win against the Brumbies in Canberra on Saturday.
What a finish! And loads of credit to the Sharks who were so enthusiastic in everything that they did. Perhaps their attitude earned them the brilliance - and good fortune - of the winning score after the final siren had sounded. After all, they started the match running and finished it running for victory.
There was character. There had to be, for the Sharks were 15-3 down after 30 minutes and turned that into a 22-13 lead 33 minutes later.
Then it was the Brumbies turn to show character as they rushed in attack for the score that tied the match at 22-all.
Then the Brumbies had an attacking line-out and up went Ruan Botha to win the Brumbies' throw.
Then came the splendid try with help from a perverse thing called a rugby ball.
In this match the Brumbies actually scored three tries to two but where the Sharks kicked five penalty goals, the Brumbies, keener to go for tries, scored one. That was despite two missed penalty kicks by the Sharks. That tells a tale of territorial dominance apart from different ambition. (The penalty count was 11-10 to the Brumbies.)
The Brumbies kicked off and the Sharks ran back and forth but a bit of cleverness at the front of a line-out set the Brumbies up for their first score. At a line-out on their left, wing (sic) James Dargaville threw in to Rory Arnold who was, by choreography, at the front of the line-out. Arnold threw back to Dargaville who ran onto the attack. The Brumbies went wide right where Henry Speight received a long pass from Kyle Godwin and ran past Clément Poitrenaud for a try in the right corner. 5-0 after three minutes.
The Sharks ran some more. Lwazi Mvovo was tackled out at the corner and Jean-Luc di Preez was close and then Lubabalo Mtembu was over but there had been a knock on just before he grounded the ball and the referee went back to a penalty which Patrick Lambie goaled. 5-3 after 12 minutes.
The Brumbies had a purple patch after this, sparked by a dummy and break by Joe Powell. The last man defending, André Esterhuizen, tackled him and the Brumbies used three penalties in quick succession to form attacking line-outs, and the referee was playing advantage for a fourth when hooker Josh Mann-Rea finished off a maul with a try, which Wharenui Hawera converted. 12-3 after 30 minutes. Back came the Brumbies, Lukhanyo Am was offside and Hawera made it 15-3 after 30 minutes. The Brumbies looked set fair for victory.
The last four minutes of the half were fruitful for the Sharks. First a penalty gave them an attacking line-out. They mauled and then went right where Mvovo was stopped at the posts but Tendai Mtawarira was on hand to plunge over. Then when Scott Fardy was penalised for obstruction, Lambie goaled to make the half-time score 15-13.
The Sharks started the second half with a bout of 19 phases which ended when Sam Carter was penalised for offside and the simple Lambie penalty gave the Sharks the lead at 16-15.
Lambie missed two penalties, but the Sharks were helped in their attacking when Godwin was sin-binned for infringing at a tackle on his line. When Fardy was offside, Lambie goaled. 19-15 after 56 minutes and then 22-15 seven minutes later when Lolo Fakaosilea was penalised at a tackle.
There were still 17 minutes to play. A penalty gave the Brumbies a five-metre line-out and they tried a clever dodge around the front. Du Preez saved but the Brumbies were still attacking and wonderful, quick, short, accurate passing gave Tevita Kuridrani, who had had a quiet match, a gap with just over five metres to go and he burst over for a try at the posts. Andrew's Smith converted and it was 22-all with just over 10 minutes to play.
Neither side was content with a draw. They both kept on running and striving for victory.
Substitute Isaac Thompson tried a drop from 40 metres out but was well wide. The Sharks dropped out deep and the Brumbies counterattacked. A penalty gave them an attacking line-out but up went Botha to frustrate them. The Sharks attacked down the right but Kobus van Wyk was tackled into touch.
The Brumbies had the ball and were looking to attack even though they were just inside their one half but then Fardy lost the ball in a tackle on the Sharks right. From there they went left as the siren signalled that time was up. Substitute Curwin Bosch was up in the line and he cracked on the pace. As Speight came across to tackle him, Bosch kicked infield off the right side of his right boot. Dargaville raced across but the ball did little bouncing tricks and he overran it. Instead Am picked up and plunged over for the try that produced a famous victory.
Man of the Match: There were lots of praiseworthy efforts but it was possibly at the breakdown that the Sharks got an edge and the men who were so effective there were forwards Jean-Luc du Preez and Philip van der Walt and centre Lukhanyo Am who won two penalties at the breakdown and then was on hand to gather the awkward ball and score the try. Lukhanyo Am is our Man of the Match.
For the Brumbies:
Tries: Speight, Mann-Rea, Kuridrani
Cons: Hawera, Smith
For the Sharks:
Tries: Mtawarira, Am
Pens: Lambie 5
Yellow card: Kyle Godwin (Brumbies, 51 - cynical foul, offside close to the tryline)
Brumbies: 15 Aidan Toua, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Kyle Godwin, 11 James Dargaville, 10 Wharenui Hawera, 9 Joe Powell, 8 Jordan Smiler, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Scott Fardy, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Rory Arnold, 3 Allan Alaalatoa, 2 Josh Mann-Rea, 1 Nic Mayhew.
Replacements: 16 Robbie Abel, 17 Ben Alexander, 18 Leslie Leulua'Iali'I-Makin, 19 Tom Staniforth, 20 Lolo Fakaosilea, 21 De Wet Roos, 22 Andrew Smith, 23 Isaac Thompson.
Sharks: 15 Clement Poitrenaud, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie (captain), 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Lubabalo Mtembu, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Philip van der Walt, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Stephan Lewies, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Jean Droste, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Curwin Bosch.
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant referees: Jordan Way (Australia), Edward Martin (Australia)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)