Currie Cup

Sharks bite Leopards in Currie Cup

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The Leopards again paid a heavy price in the Currie Cup premier division by going down 44-15 to the defending champions, the Sharks in Rustenburg on Friday night.

Being a man down for 20 minutes in the second half allowed the Sharks to capitalise on their numerical advantage, scoring four of their six tries during that time.

Two weeks ago, the Leopards eventually went down to the Lions when centre Japie Nel was red-carded and in the first encounter of the season, against the Boland, they conceded 17 points when front-tanker Os van der Walt was sent off the field for ten minutes.

Discipline was vital again on Friday night and the Sharks boxed clever against their inexperienced opponents.

They also opted to keep the ball in hand while the Leopards used the boot excessively. It took Puma flyhalf Juan Martin Hernandez 12 minutes to get on the scoreboard with the first of his penalty goals and with the Argentinean running the show and kicking intelligently, it was only a matter of time before they took control.

On the other side, the Leopards was intent to kick the ball away and try to test the Sharks with a bombardment of up-and-unders, giving priceless possession away.

But, with the half-time score only at 13-3, the Leopards were still in with a chance even with flyer Jan van Zyl in the bin for most of the last quarter of the half. Seven minutes after the restart, Stephan Terblanche scored after a swooping seventy metre movement because they kept the ball in hand.

The Leopards seemed to take the lesson to heart and within six minutes Jovan Bowles scored the Leopards’ first try with a strong run down the right touch-line.

Seconds after hooker Gavin Williams was yellow-carded for playing from an off-side position, flanker Jacques Botes dived over for another five pointer.

The Sharks scored again when McLeod rounded off another hand to hand move with just too few Leopards to defend.

The impressive Craig Burden was next to score, with the Leopards still down one man, and the score increased from 18-10 to 39-10 within a few minutes.

The last action from the Sharks belonged to winger Chris Jordaan when he beat a desperate cover-tackle from Rudi Mathee on the corner flag to take the score up the forties.

With nothing to lose, the Leopards threw everything into the wind and Bowles scored his second try after some positive interplay. For sixty minutes, while both sides were down to 15 men, they each scored two tries.

Maybe there’s a lesson in there somewhere for the Leopards?

Final Score Sharks 44 Leopards 15

Scorers:

Leopards:
Try: Jovan Bowles (2).
Conversion: Clayton Durand.
Penalty: Clayton Durand.

Sharks:
Tries: Charl McLeod (2), Stephan Terblanche, Jacques Botes, Craig Burden, Chris Jordaan.
Conversions: Juan-Martin Hernandez, Guy Cronjé (3).
Penalties: Hernandez (2)

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