Sharks bag bonus-point win in Singapore
SUPER RUGBY REPORT: The Sharks scored six tries on their way to a hard-fought 38-17 bonus-point win over the Sunwolves in Singapore on Saturday.
It was not a great match to watch. There were too many handling errors for that - 17 by the Sharks alone which meant that the scrum count was against them - 12-3. And the scrums were messy. Down they went and there were resets but the Sunwolves, as they always do, won all their own scrums and did so quickly. That meant that the scrums were not a contest and the opposite of interesting.
The referee tried penalising, freekicking and talking with little success. At one of his talks to front rows, the remark was made that it sounded like marriage counselling!
There was no climatic reason for poor handling. The ground was great and the roof closed and a crowd of 10 765 who were not aggressive.
With 10 minutes to play the Sharks led 21-17 and the Sunwolves had a line-out five metres from the Sharks line, but the Sharks survived and then scored three tries and 17 points to win 38-17 with a bonus point. It looked comfortable but looks can be deceptive.
The Sunwolves kicked off and were certainly holding their own when Yu Tamura kicked down to the corner on the Sharks right. Garth April got the ball as Ryohei Yamanaka bore down on him and the flyhalf started running from four metres from his line. Backs and forwards kept the impetus going forward, inside to the left and then back outside to fullback Lwazi Mvovo who stepped inside Shota Emi and scored in the corner. April converted and the Sharks led 7-0, and you felt that this could become a game of great enterprise and skill.
The enterprise remained but not the skill.
Lourens Adriaanse was offside and penalised. The Ryohei Yamanaka tapped and Yamanaka was close and then sturdy Takeshi Hino, an early replacement for hooker Shota Horie, forced his way over for a try, which Tamura converted. 7-7 after 19 minutes.
The Sharks then scored the South African try. They kicked a penalty out for a five-metre line-out and Mauled till Ruan Botha scored far out on the right. Again April converted. 14-7 after 23 minutes.
The Ryohei Yamanaka attacked in phases till they were penalised and then hooker Chiliboy Ralepelle broke at speed down the midfield There was interpassing amongst the Sharks till handling broke down and the Ryohei Yamanaka had the ball, only to knock it on to Lukhanyo Am who gave the elegant speedster Sibusiso Nkosi on the left wing. Nkosi said thanks and raced away for the first of his tries. 21-7 after 34 minutes, the half-time score.
The Ryohei Yamanaka were the first to score in the second half. A penalty gave them a five-metre line-out. They bashed at the Sharks till the ball came back to Fumiaki Tanaka. He held his pass and with perfect timing gave it to flank Shuhei Matsuhashi who raced over for the try. 21-14 after 52 minutes.
The Sharks had a five-metre line-out but Willie Brits stole their ball. They lost three of their seven line-outs in the second half.
Ryohei Yamanaka fullback Kotaro Matsushima went on a long weaving run in counterattack and the Sunwolves were looking good, till Tendai Mtawarira won a turnover and popped the ball to another substitute, Etienne Oosthuizen who hooked the ball downfield. Jean-Luc du Preez raced after the ball, go to it first and stopped to gather the rolling ball. Brilliantly he got it but in doing so he fell to ground about three metres from the goal line. Du Preez popped the ball back to Oosthuizen who knocked on at the line.
The Sunwolves won a turnover off Sibusiso Sithole and went wide right than back left where the Sharks were penalised at a tackle. Tamura goaled and the score was 21-17 with 18 minutes to play.
The teams took turns to attack but with eight minutes to play, the score was still a fragile 21-17.
The Sharks attacked from a scrum on the left and Oosthuizen offloaded a smooth underarm pass to Mvovo who burst through three defenders to score. 26-17 with 6 minutes to play.
Near their 10-metre line the Sharks passing went awry in a cluttered midfield but, when Harumichi Tatekawa of the Sunwolves got the ball and tried to pass to his right, Am intercepted with a juggle and raced towards the half-way line where he gave to Nkosi who sped 52m down the left touchline to score his second try. This time Benhard Janse van Rensburg converted. 33-17 after 79 minutes.
There was time for the Sunwolves to kick off and for the Sharks to sweep back on the attack. Jean-Luc du Preez raced downfield and then flipped a nonchalant, Campese-esque pass to his right where Mvovo caught it and ran over for his hat-trick try.
Man of the Match: Fumiaki Tanaka was brilliant for the Sunwolves and Willie Britz full of fearless energy. For the Sharks, Garth April had his moments, Philip van der Walt worked tirelessly, Lwazi Mvovo played fullback as if it was his natural position and scored three tries and then there was our choice - Jean-Luc du Preez - so powerful on defence, so strong carrying the ball, astonishingly able to beat an opponent at close quarters and then there was that pass.
Tries: Hino, Matsuhashi
Cons: Tamura 2
Tries: Mvovo 3, Botha, Nkosi 2
Cons: April 3, Janse van Rensburg
Sunwolves: 15 Kotaro Matsushima, 14 Shota Emi, 13 Ryohei Yamanaka, 12 Harumichi Tatekawa, 11 Kenki Fukuoka, 10 Yu Tamura, 9 Fumiaki Tanaka, 8 Willem Britz, 7 Shuhei Matsuhashi, 6 Yoshitaka Tokunaga, 5 Noahiro Kotaki, 4 Sam Wykes, 3 Yasuo Yamaji, 2 Shota Horie, 1 Keita Inagaki.
Replacements: 16 Takeshi Hino, 17 Masataka Mikami, 18 Takuma Asahara, 19 Hitoshi Ono, 20 Rahboni Warren Vosayaco, 21 Keisuka Uchidam 22 Jumpei Ogura, 23 Yasutaka Sasakura.
Sharks: 15 Lwazi Mvovo, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Johan Deysel, 11 Sibusiso Nkosi, 10 Garth April, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Philip van der Walt (captain), 5 Stephan Lewies, 4 Ruan Botha, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Mahlatse Ralepelle, 1 Thomas du Toit.
Replacement: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Etienne Oosthuizen, 20 Lubabalo Mtembu, 21 Rowan Gouws, 22 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 23 Sibusiso Sithole
Referee: Rohan Hoffmann (Australia)
Assistant referees: Aki Aso (Japan), Tasuku Kawahara (Japan)
TMO: Minoru Fuji (Japan)