Sharks knock the Dragons out of their way

Henry

The weather was awful, the wind was blowing and it was raining on Rodney Parade in Newport on Sunday night when the Sharks took on the Dragons in the European Challenge Cup series.

In such conditions, tactical kickers will thrive as they have the ability to keep their opponents under pressure and pin them in their own area.

The Sharks relied on the left foot of the full back Aphelele Fassi and the right foot of the flyhalf Curwin Bosch to play with long kicks (sometimes a bit aimless as in almost every other game) to play driving tips.

Sometimes it paid off, but the Sharks had to wait until the second half before they sealed a 29-9 victory with five tries over the Dragons.

It remains a mystery why it took the talented Sharks, with 11 Springboks and a Blitzbok in their group of 23 players, 30 minutes to switch on, to switch to a higher gear.

It could also have gone very differently if the television referee had not canceled the try that the Dragons’ winger Jared Rosser scored shortly after the start. It was seven points in the bag and could have spurred the home team on.

For the Sharks, who are experiencing a nightmare season in terms of results, their fourth win this season was much needed and very welcome.

There were quite a few bright spots, such as the impact made by substitute scrumhalf Grant Williams, Werner Kok who never gave up and Fassi and Bosch who played the ball very far.

Up front, the Sharks’ front row, consisting of Hanro Jacobs, Fez Mbata and Ox Nche, was devastating.

They forced a host of penalties because the Dragons’ front row succumbed.

Then Gerbrandt Grobler, who was named player of the match, and Corné Rahl ensured good possession in the lineouts and Pepsi Buthelezi and Lappies Labuschagne also hustled in the loose.

Scorers:

Sharks 29 (12): Tries: Jaden Hendrikse, Ox Nche, Gerbrandt Grobler, Le Roux Roets, Werner Kok, Goals: Curwin Bosch (2).

Dragons 9 (6): Penalty goals: Cai Evans (3).