Challenge Cup series: Sharks step on the pedal against Oyonnax

Henry

The Sharks are back on the winning track after beating Oyonnax 38-7 in Durban in the European Challenge Cup series, but it was not a performance that will attract the spectators back to Kingspark.

The hot, muggy weather and very high humidity contributed greatly to the series of handling errors committed by both teams, as it was extremely difficult to handle a soapy ball.

Let’s be honest, such conditions certainly do not make for vivid rugby.

Because there were so many interruptions (including mandatory water breaks) there was very little continuity.

Actually, one has to raise one’s hat for the Sharks’ bonus point victory.

The French visitors were sweltering in the heat after having to deal with snowy conditions at home only a few days ago.

The big bright spots for the Sharks were their six tries, their defense and the flashes in the performances of star players like Ox Nche.

Nche was named Player of the Match after scoring two tries.

Makazole Mapimpi also scored two tries and showed signs of his good form when he runs out in the green and gold.

It was the Sharks’ second win in the series and kept the back door open to making it to the knockout rounds.

At home they will have a big advantage in the hot muggy weather, but judging by the number of mistakes they made, there are still questions about their level of play.

Still, there were quite a few pieces of good play by Aphelele Fassi, Werner Kok and Curwin Bosch at the back, while flanker Lappies Labuschagne gave his best performance for the home team.

In contrast, it never looked like the visitors would be able to beat the Sharks.

They played poorly, committed many mistakes, kicked tactically poorly and unnecessarily and let quite a few chances to score slip through their fingers.

One could see why Oyonnax is 12th out of 14 teams in the French top-14.

Scorers: Sharks 38 (19): Threes. Ox Nche (2), Makazole Mapimpi (2), Lukhayno Am, Lappies Labuschagne. Goals: Curwin Bosch (4).

Oyonnax 7 (0): Three: Thibault Berthaud. Goal kick: Justin Bouraux.