Mighty WP stun toothless Sharks
Tigers’ last chance to live up to name
Sharks coach Robert du Preez was gracious in defeat and did not argue that lack of possession and lapses on defence were fatal flaws.
“The WP front row was exceptional,” du Preez said. “They won that battle and that laid their foundation. It is hard to win the gain line battle when you are struggling up front. Congratulations to Province. We just could not get going in the second half. It was a game of two halves.”
The pattern of scoring illustrates that. The Sharks scored their last points in the 32nd minute, a beautiful Curwin Bosch drop goal for a 21-10 lead.
They never scored again. Province then scored 18 unanswered points, starting significantly with an invaluable try just before half-time by Huw Jones, who would nail a second vital try in the second half for a Man of the Match performance.
It was a deserved accolade for the centre although many would have given it to Louw, whose performance would have heartened Springbok coach Allister Coetzee given the dearth of uninjured tightheads on the national front.
WP coach John Dobson said that the game was a bizarre replication of the Pool game.
‘It was a carbon copy. We weathered the storm and then took over,” the delighted Dobson said. “We knew that we could attack them up front. The first scrum was a Sharks put-in and we scrummed them off the ball. That laid down the marker.”
The Sharks’ two first-half tries and the kicking of Bosch became a trailing memory for the home side and Bosch not only had little possession to control the game but also failed to make hits on defence, with Province twice scoring as a result.
But it would it would be unfair to single out a single player. The Sharks were not good enough across the park, particularly up front, and that meant a ripple affect through every aspect of their game.
“There was some halfhearted defence,” agreed Du Preez. “There were also disciplinary lapses which you can’t afford in finals.”
The yellow-carding of Dan du Preez is a case in point. For the Du Preez family, there was another unfortunate moment when Jean-Luc limped off in the first half with a leg injury.
October 29, 2017
Countering that was another excellent performance by Robert du Preez Jnr, and in last night’s press conference Robert Snr confirmed that his elder son is now joining the Sharks. “Robert is coming to us and he will add good depth and competition at flyhalf,”
the coach said. IT’S LIKE the opening bars to that famous tune by Eminem – Bangladesh’s cricketers have one last shot, one opportunity to get, well not everything they ever wanted, but something, so can they capture it or let it slip?
Based on the last five weeks, it’ll probably slip through their grasp again in Potchefstroom this afternoon. Bangladesh have faced South Africa in six matches across three formats and been belted every time – the margins between the teams ranging from 333 runs in the first Test to 200 runs in the last ODI. They even lost a 50-over tour match to an Invitation side who had a teenager with less than 10 senior games to his name in their ranks.
The fact that they lost by just 20 runs in the first T20 International in Bloemfontein on Thursday is being held up as a sign that they are still willing to fight for that first win on this tour. Indeed it was a spirited display against South African side missing many ‘regulars’ but, it was hardly earth shattering. However when you’ve been smashed up and down the country like they have, you’ll take anything.
The fact is Bangladesh arrived in South Africa with high expectations; they wanted to prove themselves on this tour having already established their strength on home soil with wins over England and Australia. Beating Sri Lanka in a Test away from home earlier this year also showed that they could perform on their travels, albeit in that case it wasn’t in conditions in which they were unfamiliar.
And they put in the preparations ahead of this trip, but when they got here they saw demons. In Potchefstroom and Bloemfontein, the pitches were actually well suited to them, but they had prepared for fast and bouncy tracks, and thought and played like that was what they got in the Tests, when it was exactly the opposite.
Scarred by those defeats, they folded in the ODIs, despite the presence of their best player Shakib Al-Hasan, who asked to be left out of the Test series to rest. Schisms have opened up between the players and the administrators and now questions have been asked of their Sri Lankan coach Chandika Hathurusingha.
So the last match is a significant one for them, because a win does give them something to take away from the tour – a drawn T20 series by no means deflects from what else has gone before, but it’s better than nothing.
On the other hand the Proteas want to leave them with nothing. “We are looking at a cleans weep in all the formats,” Farhaan Behardien stated yesterday. Perhaps the hosts weren’t as clinically efficient as they wanted to be in Bloemfontein, especially with the ball, but it was a young and inexperienced international attack, so a bit of wiggle room is allowed.
If they stick to their policy of providing opportunities for all, the likes of Dwaine Pretorius, Tabraiz Shamsi and Mangaliso Mosehle may get a run today, with Quinton de Kock due a break after playing in all the previous matches on this tour.
The flight back to Dhaka lasts 14 hours, following which there will be a major inquest from the Bangladeshi cricket authorities into how everything went wrong for the ‘Tigers’ . Today represents one last shot to take a bit away from this tour, and ease some of the tension when that inquest starts.The match starts at 2pm.
THE CUP BELONGS TO THE CAPE: WP players, with Dillyn Leyds and Robert du Preez in the forefround, are cock-a-hoop after beating the Sharks to win the Currie Cup at Kings Park in Durban yesterday.