Brumbies

Sharks beat Highlanders in House of Pain

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Henno Mentz and Jaques Botes scored second-half tries and Tony Brown landed 11 points against his former teammates to give South Africa’s Sharks a 26-11 win over the Otago Highlanders in a Super 14 rugby match Saturday.


Mentz scored the first try of the second half in the 65th minute, snapping an 11-11 deadlock at Carisbrook and pushing the Durban-based Sharks towards their second win in six matches this season.


Both teams scored a try and landed a penalty in the first half in a game in which they were variously deadlocked at 5-5, 8-8 and 11-11. Mentz’s try, created by 19-year-old fullback J.P. Pietersen, split the teams and Botes’ touchdown in the final minute made the win convincing.


Otago’s only try came in the ninth minute through winger Richard Kahui, who scored wide out after the Highlanders pack had wrecked a Sharks scrum and forced a rare tighthead.


The ball was moved wide quickly, All Blacks halfback Jimmy Cowan throwing a long cutout pass, and Kahui had the strength to dive over through three defenders.


The Sharks tied the score with a brilliant individual try to winger Odwa Ndugane who, confronted by a drifting cover defense, kicked the ball ahead and won the race to the bouncing ball behind the Otago goalline.


A penalty by Brown, answered by Otago fullback Ben Blair finished the first-half scoring.


Blair and Brown exchanged penalties in the first 11 minutes of the second half to leave the teams locked 11-11 before Mentz’s decisive try.


Pietersen dashed into a backline gap from fullback, beat one defender and drew another then threw a perfect pass to the winger, giving him a wide angle to the corner flag. Brown missed the conversion but added a penalty to make the margin eight points before Botes’ late try.


The final try was a well-deserved reward for the industrious and creative flanker who was among the game’s best players. He followed up a high kick from Ndungane, whose twin brother scored earlier in the round for the Bulls against the Wellington Hurricanes, and won the bounce in the middle of a stretched defense.


He then tore down the right-hand touch, showing unusual speed for a loose forward, and sprawled over for a try which filled out a 15-point margin.


Brown landed the conversion to finish with double figures against the Highlanders, for whom he played more than 50 Super 12 games.


Scores:


Sharks 26 (Odwa Ndungane, Henno Mentz, Jaques Botes tries; Tony Brown conversion, 3 penalties),


Otago Highlanders 11 (Richard Kahui try; Ben Blair 2 penalties).


Source : Sapa-AP /ah

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