Mighty WP stun tooth­less Sharks

Tigers’ last chance to live up to name

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - SPORT - MIKE GREEN­AWAY STU­ART HESS

de­fence.

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.

LEON LESTRADE/ANA

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.

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