Sharks blow hot and cold against Glasgow


The gulf between the Sharks’ best team and their next best was further widened on Friday evening at Scotstoun in Glasgow in the showdown in the United Rugby Championship against the Glasgow Warriors.

The home team won 21-10 after leading 21-5 at halftime.

With this victory, the Warriors (53 points) moved up to second in the standings behind Leinster (54) and they are now eight points ahead of the Bulls (45), who play against Munster at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday afternoon.

The Sharks’ focus was twofold in nature. They wanted to build on the winning momentum of three consecutive victories they achieved at home. The Sharks, who will play against the Welsh Ospreys in the HRK series this coming weekend, have their main focus in two weeks in London in the semi-final of the European Challenge Cup series against Clermont (France).

If they can beat Clermont, the road to the final is paved and a place in next season’s glamorous European Champions Cup series beckons.

It is for this reason that the Sharks’ coach, John Plumtree, most of his selection Springboks such as Ox Nche, Bongi Mbonambi, Eben Etzebeth (front) and Jaden Hendrikse, Lukhanyo Am, Makazole Mapimpi and Aphelele Fassi and the fiery seven- Bok gave Werner Kok a rest at the back.

They are wrapped in cotton because they need to be rested when the Sharks play Clermont.

But Plumtree probably also hoped that the substitutes, such as Boeta Chamberlain, Aphiwe Dyanti, Francois Venter, Curwin Bosch and Grant Williams at the back, would regain their confidence after the Sharks’ disappointing march in the HRC series.

Unfortunately, most of the players did not succeed. They were overeager, had butter fingers and soon tried too hard to shake off the yoke of mediocrity.

Added to that, the Warriors are a well-coached team, full of Scottish internationals and are still unbeaten at Scotstoun this season.

Up front, the Sharks’ locks, CornĂ© Rahl and Gerbrandt Grobler, lit the fire at times, but there was too little explosiveness to derail the Warriors.

There was a flicker in the second half when Siya Masuku, Vincent Tshituka and Vincent Koch were sent on, but the blow had already been struck.

What the Sharks did manage to do was prevent the Warriors from a bonus point try. That was thanks to their rushing defense, which stymied the Warriors behind the advantage line and forced fouls.

It will be interesting to see which team the Sharks will field against the Ospreys. I expect it to be their best team to play against Clermont the week after with great confidence.

Scorers: Glasgow Warriors 21 (21): Tries: George Horne, Max Williamson, Kyle Steyn Goals: Horns (3)

Sharks: 10 (5): Threes: Dan Jooste, Ntuthuko Mchunu.