Sharks down Griquas to book Currie Cup semis spot
The Sharks asserted themselves in the boiler room, as they did in the wide open spaces in their crushing Currie Cup defeat of Griquas in Kimberley on Saturday.
The win confirmed their status as semi-final hosts next weekend and the win on the diamond fields was achieved with the kind of sparkle that should see them start favourites in their next engagement.
They were typically direct, if not combative upfront as they succeeded in pegging the home team firmly on the back foot.
They had the better of the primary phases and it helped no end that they hand Bok tighthead Coenie Oosthuizen back in the fold following a long lay-off.
Hooker Akker van Merwe again delivered short but determined strides when knocking at the heart of the Griquas defence, backrowers Tyler Paul and Jacques Vermeulen were never far behind.
Van der Merwe proved a handful from the back of the rolling mass action that was the Sharks’ maul.
At the back centre Jeremy Ward delivered another assured performance, while S’Bu Nkosi produced some powerful surges on the left wing.
Griquas at times were clutching at straws and they were hamstrung by some poor man on man marking. They missed 10 tackles in the first half alone.
Shortly after the break the trend continued as was evidenced in the first of replacement wing Leolin Zas’s two tries.
With wet conditions the order of the day across much the interior on Saturday, the usually bone dry surface had a distinct tinge of green to it.
The Sharks gave away an early silly penalty for kicking the ball in the ruck and George Whitehead duly handed the hosts the lead.
That lead was however short lived as the Sharks set up camp deep inside the hosts’ territory after the restart.
It was from the next set piece Robert du Preez bashed the ball up and allowed centre partner Ward to stretch for the goalline. Curwin Bosch inexplicably botched the easy conversion.
Paul then rose high to grab a Louis Schreuder box kick in the 15th minute and from the ensuing recycle the ball was moved left with left wing Mvovo at the end of the move.
Again Bosch failed to convert the extras and the Sharks spurned another scoring opportunity when fullback Aphelele Fassi lost the ball when all he had to do was place it.
The Sharks lost their shape a little in the second half but it made no difference.
This was Griquas’ final act of the season and it is difficult to see how they are going to make a meaningful impact once they operate as a fully fledged franchise.
Griquas (11) – Try: Kyle Steyn. Penalties: George Whitehead (2).
Sharks (41) – Tries: Lwazi Mvovo (2), Leolin Zas (2). S’bu Nkosi, Jeremy Ward, Akker van der Merwe. Conversions: Curwin Bosch (3)