Kings make Sharks sweat for win
Kings make Sharks sweat for winSHARE
The Sharks came away from Port Elizabeth with four points for a win, but a huge dent in their pride.
In a tryless and very scrappy game the Sharks scored a rather fortuitous 21-12 win over a very willing Kings team.
The men from Durban may claim winning ugly is still winning, but the horror show they produced in PE left you with the feeling that the Kings had come out of the encounter with their reputation enhanced.
There may still be an enquiry – as the Kings had three foreigners on the field by the end of the game – with Nicolas Vergallo, Daniel Adonga and Hadleigh Parkes all coming on as second-half replacements.
Given the South African Rugby Union's stance on the two foreigner rule, the Kings may well have a few questions to answer.
Adonga's appearance on the bench is the result of the late withdrawal of captain Luke Watson, who did not recover in time from the throat injury he suffered in their first match against the Western Force,
The Sharks completely dominated possession and territory in the first half and by half-time the Kings had already made over 100 tackles.
The Kings were perhaps fortunate that they still had 15 players on the field at the break and had not conceded a penalty try, but they deserve credit for their spirited defence – as the enormous tackle count can attest to.
However, the Sharks must also take a large portion of the blame for not putting the game to bed earlier, as their game was far too predictable and pedestrian – allowing the Kings to come back at them after the break.
Add to that a shocking lack of discipline by the visitors and it is not surprising the home team stayed in contact on the scoreboard as well.
Sharks captain Francois Steyn admitted that they made it tough for themselves, while paying tribute to the home team for their spirited display.
That spirited display was based on an unwavering defensive effort in which the home team's tackle count was into triple figures before the half-time break.
The Sharks, who had over 80 percent of the of the possession and 90 percent territorial advantage, got their first points in the sixth minute – a Patrick Lambie penalty.
And the visitors thought they had their first try in the 11th minute, when Louis Ludik went over in the left corner, but the TMO found that the final pass from Paul Jordaan to Ludik was forward.
Minutes later, as the Kings' scrum collapsed in a heap, Lambie made it 6-0 with his second penalty. The home team managed to hang in there for another 10 minutes – as they saw a bit more of the ball – before conceding three more points, Lambie making it 9-0 after the Kings failed to retreat out of the 10-metre area from a high kick.
With the Sharks getting sloppy, turning over plenty of ball, the Kings eventually managed to open their account with a Demetri Catrakilis penalty just after the half-hour mark.
As the half-time break approached, the Sharks won a scrum feed five metres from the Kings' line. Two of those turned into penalties, as the Kings' scrum again collapsed in a heap. When the ball eventually emerged, the Sharks took it through a few phases and won penalty advantage at two of those breakdowns, before Lambie eventually slotted a drop-goal to bring the half to an end – 12-3 to the visitors.
After half-time the Kings brought on their first foreigner, Argentinean scrumhalf Nicolas Vergallo taking to the field.
Lambie eventually opened the second-half scoring in the 54th minute, but not before the referee had re-ordered the kick after the Kings illegally attempted to charge do his shot at goal.
Catrikilis pulled three points back soon afterwards, as the home team continued to put up brave resistance.
Lambie stretched the to 12 points (18-6), but from the restart Craig Burden committed obstruction and Catrikilis made it 9-18.
That became 12-18 going into the final 10 minutes, as the penalty count continued to mount against the visitors – especially at the breakdown.
Just when it appeared the Kings might pull off another shock win, Lambie slotted a late penalty to secure the Sharks a rather fortuitous 21-12 win.
Man of the match: Demetri Catrakilis epitomised the bravery of the Kings on defence, pulling off a couple of try-saving tackles and pushing his tackle count well into double figures. The Kings' loose trio – Jacques Engelbrecht, Wimpie van der Walt and Cornell du Preez – were also key to the great defensive effort of the home team. In fact all the Kings contributed to the huge defensive effort. They may not have won, but for the heart and determination, we are giving our award to the entire Kings team.
For the Southern Kings:
Pens: Catrakilis 4
For the Sharks:
Pens: Lambie 6
Southern Kings: 15 SP Marais, 14 Marcello Sampson, 13 Ronnie Cooke, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Sergeal Petersen, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Jacques Engelbrecht, 7 Wimpie van der Walt, 6 Cornell du Preez, 5 Darron Nell (captain), 4 Steven Sykes, 3 Kevin Buys, 2 Bandise Maku, 1 Schalk Ferreira.
Replacements: 16 Edgar Marutlulle, 17 Jaco Engels, 18 David Bulbring, 19 Daniel Adonga, 20 Nicolas Vergallo, 21 George Whitehead, 22 Hadleigh Parkes.
Sharks: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Francois Steyn (captain), 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Jean Deysel, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 19 Jacques Botes, 20 Charl McLeod, 21 Meyer Bosman, 22 Odwa Ndungane.
Referee: Jason Jaftha (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Lourens van der Merwe (South Africa), Christie du Preez (South Africa)
TMO: Johann Meuwessen