Sharks stumble past poor Pumas
CURRIE CUP REPORT: The Sharks stumbled their way to a 29-0 victory over the Pumas in Durban, in a match that was as entertaining as watching paint dry.
The first half saw just three points being scored in the opening five minutes while the remainder of the half was riddled with handling errors. Even though the Sharks managed to score four second half tries, the match failed to come to life as neither side seemed determined to take charge.
The Sharks retained possession from the kick-off and set about putting their forwards to work. The Pumas thwarted their attack and managed to win a scrum feed on their 22. However, a huge shove by the Sharks saw the Pumas fold to hand Curwin Bosch a kickable penalty. He made no mistake to hand the home side a 3-0 lead after five minutes.
Both sides looked dangerous when they held onto the ball, however, handling errors inside the opposition's 22 proved to be both side's downfall. The Sharks' Hyron Andrews had the best chance to grab the opening try of the game in the 16th minute but he was stopped inches short of the line as the Pumas survived.
That was the way the first half remained as neither side could turn possession and territory into points, despite numerous attacking opportunities.
Pumas under early pressure in the second half as the Sharks pinned them inside their 22. From a turnover, the Sharks sent the ball through the hands before the final pass found Lukhanyo Am close to the touchline and the centre dotted down a simple try. Bosch added the extras to hand the home side a 10-0 lead after 45 minutes.
The Sharks seemed to settle from that point and launched another attack on the Pumas' defence. From a ruck, the ball went through the hands before Jeremy Ward straightened the line. He offloaded to Garth April on his outside and the fullback drew the last defender.
He fired off a pass to Sibusiso Nkosi on his inside, who raced away for his side's second try. Bosch made the conversion look easy to extend his side's lead to 17-0 after 50 minutes.
The home side kept plugging away at the Pumas and after a spell of scrappy play, Am broke through and sent a long pass to Jacobus van Wyk on his outside. The wing raced down the touchline to score in the corner. Bosch failed to add the extras, although, the Sharks' lead had stretched to 22-0 after 60 minutes.
The Sharks had their bonus point in the 68th minute when a quickly taken line-out inside their half, laid the platform for the backline to showcase what they can do. The ball was sent through the hand to Nkosi on the touchline. He sprinted then stepped inside before releasing Ward on his inside.
The outside centre had an easy canter over the line to dot down under the uprights. Bosch popped over the conversion to stretch his side's lead to 29-0.
The Pumas had a rare chance to grab some points close to the end of the game but were unable to hold onto the ball long enough to get themselves over the line. That allowed the Sharks to kick the ball into touch to end the match.
Man of the match: Jeremy Jordaan worked tirelessly while Kwezi Mona put in a massive shift. Garth April looked threatening when he joined the attacking line and Lukhanyo Am created a few headaches. Sibusiso Nkosi showed plenty of speed and awareness to score a try and set up another. Despite the efforts of these players, no-one stood out to claim this award.
For the Sharks:
Tries: Am, Nkosi, Van Wyk, Ward
Cons: Bosch 3
For the Pumas: None
Sharks: 15 Garth April, 14 Jacobus van Wyk, 13 Jeremy Ward, 12 Lukhanyo Am, 11 Sibusiso Nkosi, 10 Curwin Bosch, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Keegan Daniel, 5 Ruan Botha (captain), 4 Hyron Andrews, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Mahlatse Ralepelle, 1 Thomas du Toit.
Replacements: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 Tyler Paul, 19 Lubabalo Mtembu, 20 Jacques Vermeulen, 21 Cameron Wright, 22 Inny Radebe.
Pumas: 15 Gerrit Smith, 14 Ruwellyn Isbell, 13 Jerome Pretorius, 12 Hennie Skorbinski (captain), 11 Jean-Paul Lewis, 10 Justin van Staden, 9 Stefan Ungerer, 8 Carel Greeff, 7 Lambert Groenewald, 6 Thembelani Bholi, 5 Hugo Kloppers, 4 Jeremy Jordaan, 3 Pieter Scholtz, 2 Marko Janse Van Rensburg, 1 Kwezi Mona.
Replacements: 16 Frank Herne, 17 De-Jay Terblanche, 18 Jannie Stander, 19 Chris Cloete, 20 Reynier van Rooyen, 21 Sias Ebersohn, 22 Devon Williams.
Referee: Quinton Immelman
Assistant referees: Archie, Sehlako, Aimee Barrett-Theron
TMO: Johan Greeff