Dan du Preez scored two tries as the Sharks beat the Golden Lions 37-21 at Kings Park on Saturday. SIMON BORCHARDT reports.
The Sharks’ fourth bonus-point win in as many matches took them to the top of the Currie Cup log (with Western Province still to play in the late game), while a second consecutive defeat should see the Lions finishing the weekend in fourth position.
Despite the rain, the Sharks showed good skill with ball in hand, kept their error rate down, and missed just three tackles. They dominated the collisions and the scrum, with Bok prop Thomas du Toit particularly impressive.
Rassie Erasmus would also have been pleased to see Coenie Oosthuizen and S’bu Nkosi making their returns from injury off the bench in the second half, while Ross Cronjé played the full 80 minutes for the Lions.
Robert du Preez opened the scoring for the Sharks with a penalty goal, but it was the Lions who got the first try, when Sylvian Mahuza collected Shaun Reynolds’ pin-point cross-kick to go over in the right-hand corner. That was as good as it would get for the visitors, though.
The Sharks regained the lead through two penalty goals from Robert du Preez, which was followed by a great try in the 24th minute. Dan du Preez bumped off a defender before offloading to Marius Louw, with the ball then going through the hands to Curwin Bosch. The fullback passed to Kobus van Wyk, who came in at an angle off his right wing and offloaded in the tackle to Dan du Preez.
Ten minutes later, the Sharks No 8 put Louis Schreuder over for a try, with the scrumhalf able to ground the ball over the line despite the best intentions of Cronjé.
As the rain poured down, the Lions were lucky not to concede again when Andries Coetzee’s sliced clearance kick went backwards into the in-goal area. The ball went into touch just before Jeremy Ward could get to it.
The visitors were then reduced to 14 men just before the break when Marvin Orie was yellow-carded for making contact with Andrews’ face. The Sharks opted to scrum from the penalty and while Dan du Preez couldn’t get over from the back of it, Luke Stringer did from the next phase, and the conversion gave them a commanding 30-7 lead.
It took just eight minutes of the second half for the Sharks to get their bonus-point try, with Dan du Preez going over for his second after Oosthuizen had come close.
At that stage, it looked like the Lions were facing a humiliating defeat. To their credit, they fought back well and actually dominated the rest of the half.
James Venter scored from a lineout driving maul and with five minutes to go, Courtnall Skosan took a quick throw-in 5m from his tryline, with a kick upfield being chased down by Wandisile Simelane.
The Lions pushed hard for a fourth try well after the hooter, but a knock-on from a lineout was followed by the final whistle.
Sharks – Tries: Dan du Preez (2), Louis Schreuder, Luke Stringer. Conversions: Robert du Preez (4). Penalties: Du Preez (3).
Golden Lions – Tries: Sylvian Mahuza, James Venter, Wandisile Simelane. Conversions: Shaun Reynolds (3).
Sharks – 15 Curwin Bosch, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Jeremy Ward, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Robert du Preez, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Daniel du Preez, 7 Tyler Paul, 6 Luke Stringer, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Gideon Koegelenberg, 3 Thomas du Toit, 2 Chiliboy Ralepelle (c), 1 Juan Schoeman.
Subs: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Ruben van Heerden, 19 Jacques Vermeulen, 20 Cameron Wright, 21 S’bu Nkosi, 22 Aphelele Fassi.
Golden Lions – 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Sylvian Mahuza, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Howard Mnisi, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Shaun Reynolds, 9 Ross Cronjé (c), 8 Hacjivah Dayimani, 7 Len Massyn, 6 James Venter, 5 Marvin Orie, 4 Rhyno Herbst, 3 Johannes Jonker, 2 Pieter Jansen, 1 Sti Sithole.
Subs: 16 Corné Fourie, 17 Jacobie Adriaanse, 18 Reinhard Nortnagel, 19 Driaan Bester, 20 Nic Groom, 21 Gianni Lombard, 22 Wandisile Simelane.
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images