PORT ELIZABETH, March 9 |
PORT ELIZABETH, March 9 (Reuters) – Flyhalf Patrick Lambie kicked 21 points as the Sharks defeated the Southern Kings 21-12 in an all-South African Super Rugby tussle on Saturday.
Lambie landed six penalties and a drop-goal but it is the second week in succession that last year’s finalists have failed to score a try.
The Kings, in their maiden Super Rugby campaign, showed good organisation and plenty of bravery in defence like they displayed in their victory over the Western Force last week.
“Everybody is relieved, we are happy for the win, but we made it tough for ourselves out there,” Sharks skipper Frans Steyn said in a television interview.
The Sharks opened their account through a Lambie penalty and then thought they had the game’s opening try when fullback Louis Ludik crossed over, but officials ruled that a pass from centre Paul Jordaan in the build-up was forward.
The visitors dominated in the forwards giving them plenty of ball to work with as they launched waves of attack on the Kings line.
The scrums were a particular area of strength and when Kings prop Kevin Buys used his hands illegally to try and control the ball as the Sharks pushed his pack backwards, Lambie was able to add another penalty.
The flyhalf landed a third after the home side were penalised for offside but Demetri Catrakilis got the Kings on the scoreboard with a penalty of his own just past the half-hour mark.
Having turned down the opportunity for more shots at goal in search of an elusive try, the Sharks extended their lead on the stroke of halftime when Lambie landed a drop goal to leave the visitors 12-3 up at the break.
Sharks wing Lwazi Mvovo then crossed the Kings line and seemed destined to score, but his high body position allowed the scrambling home defence to hold him up and the referee called the play back for a penalty that Lambie converted.
“Week in, week out we are creating a lot of opportunities but don’t score. But you must also give credit to the Kings, it was a fantastic defensive effort,” Steyn said.
Steyn himself was then penalised for not releasing the player at the ruck and Catrakilis reduced the score to 15-6.
The teams then traded penalties before the Kings moved to within six points of the Sharks after loose forward Marcell Coetzee was penalised for going off his feet at the ruck and Catrakilis added three points with just under 10 minutes left.
Any hopes of a home win however were warded off in the final few minutes and Lambie’s sixth penalty at the end denied the Kings what would have been a deserved bonus point.
“The boys gave it a good effort, but we couldn’t keep ball in hand for long enough,” Kings captain Darron Nell said.
“Our defence was excellent, the guys are sharp and keen. The boys put everything on the line, but we just couldn’t get the bonus point in the end.” (Reporting by Nick Said in Cape Town; editing by Tom Pilcher; email@example.com +27832722948 Messaging firstname.lastname@example.org)