Sharks blow ‘Canes away
Durban: The Sharks made a big statement when they claimed a vital 32-15 victory over the Hurricanes in Durban last Saturday. There was plenty at stake for the Sharks against their in-form opponents but after soaking up the pressure during the first half they took control of proceedings after the interval and outscored their visitors four tries to two with JP Pietersen leading the way with a well deserved brace. The home side, who were criticised for their poor attacking play in their previous matches, silenced their critics with a superb allround display and it was their ability to win the collisions as well as the set-piece battle which had a huge bearing on this result. The win consolidates the Sharks’ position in the Africa Two Conference table and although they are still in second place, they are just a point adrift of the Lions. The Hurricanes’ defeat is costly as it means they are still in fourth place in the New Zealand Conference, a point behind the Highlanders, who moved above them in the standings after their win over the Chiefs earlier on Saturday. The Sharks thought they had scored the opening try in 11th minute when Garth April made a stunning break from inside his half and offloaded to Paul Jordaan, who dotted down under the posts, but the effort was disallowed as April’s pass went forward. This after he ran onto an inside pass from James Marshall deep inside the Sharks’ 22 and barged over with two defenders on his back.
Five minutes after the restart, Pietersen pounced on a wayward pass from Brad Shields, close to the halfway line, to give the hosts the lead for the first time.