Sharks top Currie Cup standings
The Sharks moved to the top of the Absa Currie Cup standings thanks to a 27-16 (half-time 8-9) win over Vodacom Western Province in their match at the Absa Stadium in Durban on Saturday.
The home side ran in two tries to one to leapfrog the previously unbeaten Province on the Currie Cup log.
With half the season played the Sharks have 30 points from seven matches while Province are second, three points behind.
The hosts turned in a strong second-half performance and held a comfortable 18-point lead before Province replacement flank Nick Koster dived over in the dying seconds to add some respectability to the score line for the visitors.
The Sharks’ trio of Springboks all stood out with eighthman Ryan Kankowski being involved in both tries while Bismarck Du Plessis, who was named man of the match, and Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira both carried the ball powerfully.
Pat Lambie continued to impress in the flyhalf berth and the youngster ended the match with 14 points courtesy of four penalties and a conversion.
The first half saw both teams show a lot of endeavour without much result.
The first quarter belonged to the Sharks as they dominated territory and possession but had only a Lambie penalty to show for their efforts.
The home side were being frustrated by a Province defence that had only conceded six tries in their first six matches this season and slowly but surely the visitors began to claw their way back into the contest.
Flyhalf Willem de Waal succeeded with two penalties to put Province into a 6-3 lead with just four minutes of the half left.
But a minute later the home side conjured up a wonderful try as eighthman Kankowski flipped an inside pass to flank Keegan Daniel.
Daniel, who took the ball on the halfway line, sliced through the defence before sending a pass to right wing Odwa Ndungane who cantered over untouched.
However, Province were to have the last say in the half as, with the hooter having already sounded, De Waal nailed his third penalty to give his team a slender one-point lead at the interval.
The Sharks began the second half with far more purpose and they were rewarded in the 46th minute when Kankowski took a pass from scrumhalf Charl McLeod five metres from Province’s tryline.
Two big sidesteps saw the rangy No 8 beat four defenders before scoring a converted try.
Lambie continued to punish any Province error as he nailed three penalties before outside centre Stefan Terblanche wrapped the match up with a 35-metre drop goal with four minutes left in the contest
Koster, who had come on early in the match for the injured Rynhardt Elstadt, had impressed with his ferocious defence and he finally grabbed a try for the visitors but it was not enough as Province left Durban without even the consolation of a bonus point.
The Sharks - Tries: Odwa Ndungane, Ryan Kankowski; Conversion: Patrick Lambie; Penalties: Lambie (4); Drop goal: Stefan Terblanche.
Vodacom Western Province - Try: Nick Koster; Conversion: Lionel Cronje; Penalties: Willem de Waal (3).