Waratahs

Waratahs batter Sharks to go second in Super14

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The Waratahs surged into second place and did serious damage to the playoff hopes of the Sharks with a thumping 25-10 victory over the South Africans in their Super 14 rugby showdown on Saturday.


The Waratahs unleashed their best form of the season, knocking the Durban-based side out of their stride in a bonus-point four-try win for their fifth straight victory.


The Sydney team tackled with venom and the Sharks crumbled in the face of the onslaught after being shaded 3-0 at halftime.


The Waratahs, who haven’t lost since coach Ewen McKenzie was not re-appointed for next season four matches ago, had the game in their keeping with a 25-3 buffer into the final minutes before the Sharks got a consolation try through winger Odwa Ndungane.


“There are no excuses, the Waratahs came out and defended like demons tonight,” stand-in Sharks skipper AJ Venter said.


“We could never get our phases going, they stole our ball, so it was a good game by them.”


Number 8 Wycliffe Palu scored two tries and monstered the Sharks with some thunderous hits, including one memorable wincing blow on Venter’s back.


Fullback Sam Norton-Knight opened the tryscoring eight minutes after halftime scoring out wide off a long Kurtley Beale pass after the Waratah forwards stormed the Sharks’ try-line.


Palu powered through a feeble Stefan Terblanche tackle to take Ndungane over with him for his first try in the 55th minute and centre Tom Carter scored off a Beale chip kick.


Palu thundered over for his second try in the 65th minute after skipper Phil Waugh darted up the blindside of a maul for the bonus point fourth try.


“Our defence again did very well, our first half wasn’t pretty, but we started off the second half pretty well and to get four tries against a good defensive side like the Sharks is very pleasing,” Waugh said.


The Sharks, who had only a prodigious 55-metre penalty goal from Francois Steyn to show for their efforts, finally scored a try through winger Ndungane with two minutes left after a break by Ryan Kankowski.


It gets no easier for the battered Sharks, who have to back up for their final Australasian tour game against the competition leaders the Crusaders in Christchurch next Friday.


“Normally the last week is the better week of a long tour, the guys know we are going home soon, so hopefully that will help for the last game,” Venter said.


The Sharks had two early jolting setbacks with skipper Johann Muller pulling out with injury before the match and French international fly-half Frederic Michalak lasting just nine minutes before he injured his left knee in a tackle.


The Waratahs are off for two matches in South Africa against the Bulls next week and playoff contenders Western Stormers before an Australian derby with the Reds in Brisbane on the final weekend.


Sapa-AFP – Super14.com

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