Sharks get scrappy win
SUPER RUGBY REPORT: The Sharks earned a valuable, but scrappy win when they beat the Western Force 37-12 in Durban on Saturday.
However, the Sharks failed to secure the bonus point.
The game changed with a 14-point blitz by the Sharks in the last three minutes of the first half - after Force centre Curtis Rose was sin-binned for repeated infringements.
Having lost patience with the Australian outfit after constant offside infringements, the referee sent Rona to the sin-bin on 37 minutes at a hot and humid Kings Park stadium.
When the centre left the field Force were surprisingly leading their South African opponents 7-6 in the Round 11 encounter.
Sharks took immediate advantage of the numerical superiority to score two converted tries and turn a one-point deficit into a 20-7 half-time lead.
Centre Jeremy Ward, starting in place of suspended Andre Esterhuizen, evaded several tackles to score the first of four tries by the Sharks.
Loose forward Jean-Luc du Preez, one of two sons of Sharks coach Robert du Preez in the back row, powered over the try-line two minutes later.
Teenage flyhalf Curwin Bosch converted both tries as part of a flawless goal-kicking display which, together with a try, gave him 20 points.
Force, who began the match having won just twice in eight outings, never look like recovering from conceding 14 points within three minutes.
As the second half drew to a close the issues were how many points Sharks would win by, and could they add a bonus point to the four for a victory.
They had a chance to secure the extra point for scoring three tries more than their rivals by winning a line-out after the full-time hooter sounded.
But after taking the ball through a number of phases and steadily pushing toward the Force 22, a Shark knocked the ball on and the final whistle sounded.
Victory lifted the Sharks to 32 points in the Africa 2 standings, 10 points behind the leaders, fellow South Africans and 2016 runners-up the Golden Lions.
The Lions and Africa One leaders the Stormers Africa look set to top the respective tables and secure home quarterfinals.
That leaves one knockout berth up for grabs from the Africa conferences and the Sharks are 12 points ahead of the Argentine Jaguares in the race for the place.
Force lie fourth in the Australian group and hopes of progress to the last-eight phase of the competition vanished some time ago.
Ward, Du Preez, Bosch and centre Lukhanyo Am scored tries for Sharks and Bosch kicked three conversions and three penalties.
Springbok flyhalf Patrick Lambie, who came off the bench for his first appearance since injuring his back two months ago, kicked a conversion.
A couple of South Africans, wing James Verity-Amm and fullback Marcel Brache, were the Force try scorers and scrumhalf Ian Prior slotted a conversion.
Man of the match: You can look at both Du Preez brothers, Jean-Luc and Daniel, for their workrate. You can consider Curwin Bosch and Jeremy Ward for their skill. You can even consider fullback Rhyno Smith. However, our award goes to Sharks captain Philip van der Walt, the fire in the belly of a hungry beast and the calmness when things threaten to get out of hand.
For the Sharks:
Tries: Ward, JL du Preez, Bosch, Am
Cons: Bosch 3, Lambie
Pens: Bosch 3
For the Western Force:
Tries: Verity-Amm, Brache
Yellow card: Curtis Rose (Western Force, 37 - repeat infringements, offside)
Sharks: 15 Rhyno Smith, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Jeremy Ward, 11 Sibusiso Nkosi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Philip van der Walt (captain), 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Thomas du Toit.
Replacements: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Stephan Lewies, 20 Lubabalo Mtembu, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Patrick Lambie, 23 Johan Deysel.
Western Force: 15 Marcel Brache, 14 James Verity-Amm, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Alex Newsome, 10 Jono Lance, 9 Ian Prior, 8 Isireli Naisarani, 7 Matt Hodgson (captain), 6 Brynard Stander, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Ross Haylett-Petty, 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2 Tatafu Polata-Nau, 1 Pek Cowan.
Replacements: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Shambeckler Vui, 19 Lewis Carmichael, 20 Richard Hardwick, 21 Mitchell Short, 22 Luke Burton, 23 Peter Grant.
Referee: Rasta Rasivhenge (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Quinton Immelman (South Africa), Archie Sehlako (South Africa)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)
* Pictures by Wayne Seagreen