Sharks XV return to winning ways
The Sharks XV returned to winning ways as they dismantled the Platinum Leopards 38-7 (half-time 24-0) in their Vodacom Cup match at Mr. Price Kings Park on Saturday.
The home side, coming off a 23-16 loss to Griquas, recorded their fifth win in seven matches in emphatic fashion as they ran in six tries to one.
Flank and captain Jean Deysel turned in a storming performance for the Sharks XV, on attack and defence, as he continued his recovery from a serious knee injury, while his fellow loose forward eighthman Marcell Coetzee provided the perfect link between the backs and forwards.
Coetzee, who was still a schoolboy last year, showed an impressive turn of speed while he was never far from the ball throughout the match.
The Sharks XV, from the opening kickoff, adopted a high-tempo ball-in hand approach and their industry was rewarded as early as the ninth minute when right wing Mark Richards was on hand to round off a backline move for an unconverted try.
Three minutes later scrumhalf Cobus Reinach broke superbly to take the ball over the halfway line before off-loading to left wing Rosko Specman who cantered over untouched as the home side raced into a 12-0 lead.
The Leopards began to gain a touch of parity in the second quarter, especially at the breakdown, but poor handling and decision making at crucial moments cost them at least two try-scoring opportunities.
The visitors were left to rue their inability to finish moves off as a break from Sharks XV hooker Kyle Cooper, who turned in a powerful performance in the loose, led to a second try for Specman after tighthead prop Wiehahn Herbst showed a nice sleight of hand to pop an inside pass to the flying winger.
The try seemed to invigorate the Sharks XV and they wrapped up the bonus point for four tries shortly before the break when Richards crossed for his second five-pointer after a sweeping backline movement.
The home side began the second half as they had ended the first and seven minutes after the restart Coetzee was on hand to dive over in the corner for a well deserved try.
The match lost much of its fizz in the final quarter as a raft of substitutes from both teams seemed to result in a loss of continuity and structure.
With less than five minutes remaining in the contest the Leopards finally troubled the scorers when centre Walter Venter sidestepped his way over to score between the poles.
However, the Sharks XV sealed their victory in the dying seconds when replacement forward Daniel Adongo took a scoring pass from replacement hooker Craig Burden.
Sharks XV – Tries:
Mark Richards (2), Rosko Specman (2), Marcell Coetzee, Daniel Adongo; Conversions: Kobus de Kock (3), Gouws Prinsloo.
Platinum Leopards – Try:
Walter Venter; Conversion: Clayton Durand.