Curwin Bosch kicked a 71st-minute penalty as the Sharks battled to an unimpressive 19-17 win over the plucky Kings in Durban on Saturday. MARIETTE ADAMS reports.
The Kings led for most of this contest, but conceded a late scrum penalty on halfway, and Bosch stepped up to put his side ahead.
Lionel Cronjé then had a chance to snatch victory for the Kings, but his long-range 79th-minute penalty attempt went wide.
It was nervous times in Durban as the Kings asked legitimate questions of this Sharks side, but in the end the hosts did enough to get over the line.
The Sharks needed to start this match assertively. They didn’t. Bosch put them into the lead after the visitors were penalised at a scrum early on, but the Kings went on to compete well at – and at times dominate – the set-piece.
A lot was made of the Sharks’ team selection, particularly that of Benhard Janse van Rensburg, who started at flyhalf ahead of Inny Radebe and Garth April. Janse van Rensburg’s didn’t do much on the field to quieten the naysayers. He was not solely at fault for the Sharks’ ineptitude on attack, but made a mistake that directly led to a try for the Kings.
After falling behind by three, Lions discard Ruaan Lerm charged down a poor clearance kick by the Sharks flyhalf and beat Bosch in a footrace to touch down. The Sharks would regain the lead through Lourens Adriaanse, who scored his first Super Rugby try in his 80th appearance, but the lively Kings kept responding.
The Sharks’ error-count mounted rapidly, and before half-time an unnecessary lofted pass by Ruan Botha landed in the hands of Makazole Mapimpi, whose acceleration off the mark saw him beat André Esterhuizen on the outside as the Kings went into the break 14-8 to the good.
The Sharks’ display didn’t improve after the break. It was more a case of the Kings’ indiscipline bringing the hosts back into the contest.
Bosch and Cronjé traded kicks, as the Kings managed to hold onto their advantage. However, a yellow-card offence by stand-in captain Chris Cloete, afforded the Sharks an opportunity, which Kobus van Wyk took well to close the gap to 17-16.
Bosch hooked the conversion, but made up for it with the match-winning penalty from the halfway line to save the Sharks’ blushes.
Sharks – Try: Lourens Adriaanse, Kobus van Wyk. Penalties: Curwin Bosch (3).
Kings – Tries: Ruaan Lerm, Makazole Mapimpi. Conversions: Lionel Cronjé (2). Penalty: Cronjé.
Sharks – 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 André Esterhuizen, 11 Odwa Ndungane, 10 Benhard Janse van Rensburg, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Tera Mtembu (c), 7 Jean-Luc du Preez, 6 Jacques Vermeulen, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Stephan Lewies, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 1 Thomas du Toit.
Subs: 16 Stephan Coetzee, 17 Juan Schoeman, 18 John-Hubert Meyer, 19 Etienne Oosthuizen, 20 Daniel du Preez, 21 Michael Claassens, 22 Jeremy Ward, 23 Garth April.
Kings – 15 Masixole Banda, 14 Makazole Mapimpi, 13 Berton Klaasen, 12 Waylon Murray, 11 Alshaun Bock, 10 Lionel Cronjé, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Ruaan Lerm, 7 Andisa Ntsila, 6 Chris Cloete, 5 Wilhelm van der Sluys, 4 Irne Herbst, 3 Ross Geldenhuys, 2 Michael Willemse, 1 Schalk Ferreira (c).
Subs: 16 Kurt Haupt, 17 Schalk van der Merwe, 18 Justin Forwood, 19 Tyler Paul, 20 Stefan Willemse, 21 Johan Steyn, 22 Pieter-Steyn de Wet, 23 Johann Tromp.
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images