Currie Cup

Province leave it late against Griquas in Currie Cup

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The Sharks edged out the Pumas 27-26 in a nail-biting Currie Cup match at Kings Park in Durban on Saturday.

The men from Durban avoided back-to-back defeats to the Mpumalanga based side thanks to a splendid kicking display by fullback Joe Pietersen who contributed 12 of his team’s points during the game.

Looking far more cohesive on attack, the Sharks continued to apply pressure on the Pumas pack and were awarded with a try in the 15th minute, when returning Springbok Cobus Reinach delivered a well-timed pass which put wing Wandile Mjekevu in space out wide.

The speedster did well to pierce the Pumas line and Pietersen slotted the conversion to make it 7-0.

This sparked a sense of urgency the visiting side had not displayed in the match and in one of their first visits to the Sharks 22, the Pumas managed to cross the line with lock Marius Coetzer pealing over a ruck to get his team on the board.

JC Roos knocked-over the conversion to level the scores in the 24th minute.

The cat-like instincts of Pumas scrumhalf Faf de Klerk shone through the very next minute when he took a quick-tap penalty.

Reinach was first to react to the surprise attack, but received a yellow card for cynical play in the 26th minute when he failed to retreat 10 metres before tackling De Klerk.

Roos obliged by knocking over the penalty to hand the Pumas the lead (7-10).

Pietersen would level the scores again on the half-hour mark after the visitors were caught off-side.

A minute before the break the troubles the Sharks have been having at scrum-time this season were again exploited by the men from Nelspruit, and from the resulting penalty Roos would ensure his team enjoyed a three-point lead at half-time.

Still down a man, the Sharks started the second-half content to let the Pumas call the shots, but as soon as Reinach returned it was all systems go.

In a game-changing situation the Pumas lost Jacques Momberg who was sent-off for foul play, after the referee ruled that he had dangerously used his boot near Reinach’s face when the scrumhalf tried to score a try.

After nearly making a hash of the field advantage, centre Paul Jordaan put his team back in the lead with a well-worked try close to the uprights (17-13).

The Pumas were dealt another blow when Roos limped-off with a knee injury and the team’s replacement kicker, Justin van Staden, missed a relatively easy penalty which came as a result of the pressure his team had put on the home side.

But despite being a man short, the Pumas managed to take back the lead in the 55th minute when wing Bernado Botha darted down the sideline after picking the ball up at a ruck.

Botha off-loaded to fullback JW Bell and Van Staden converted to make it 17-20.

Van Staden took his team six-points clear on the hour mark (17-23), and from there the replacement pivot dictated play before nailing a 50-metre penalty which put nine-points between the sides with 15-minutes remaining on the clock.

Mjekevu ensured that it would be a nail-biting finish when he scored his second try of the match in the 70th minute.

Pietersen converted to make it 24-26 and from the returning kick-off it was a case of all-out attack by the hosts.

After multiple attempts to score from set-phase, the Sharks eventually opted to let Pietersen put them ahead with five-minutes remaining in the match (27-26).

The Pumas had a last chance penalty that would have seen them win the match with a penalty three-minutes from full-time, but Van Staden’s kick from far out was off target.

Full time score Sharks 27(10) Pumas 26 (13)

Scorers

Sharks
Tries: Wandile Mjekevu (2), Paul Jordaan
Conversions: Joe Pietersen (3)
Penalties: Pietersen (2).

Pumas
Tries: Marius Coetzer, Bernado Botha
Conversions: JC Roos, Justin van Staden
Penalties: Roos (2), Van Staden (2).

Match Official
Referee:
Marius van der Westhuizen

Teams

Sharks: 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Wandile Mjekevu, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 S’bura Sithole, 10 Lionel Cronje, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Daniel du Preez, 6 Francois Kleinhans, 5 Marco Wentzel (c), 4 Etienne Oosthuizen, 3 Gerhard Engelbrecht, 2 Monde Hadebe, 1 Dale Chadwick.

Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Thomas du Toit, 18 JC Astle, 19 Jean-Luc du Preez, 20 Stefan Ungerer, 21 Heimar Williams, 22 Garth April.

Pumas

15 JW Bell, 14 Bernado Botha, 13 Hoffman Maritz, 12 Stefan Watermeyer (c), 11 Rosco Spekman, 10 JC Roos, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Jason-Colin Fraser, 7 Uzair Cassiem, 6 Jaco Bouwer, 5 Marius Coetzer, 4 Rudi Mathee, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Jacques Momberg, 1 Corné Fourie.

Replacements: 16 Francois du Toit, 17 De-Jay Terblanche, 18 Khwezi Mona, 19 Giant Mtyanda, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Justin van Staden, 22 Jerome Pretorius.

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