Port Elizabeth – The Sharks took some time to find their rhythm against a committed Southern Kings outfit, but eventually ran out comfortable 38-13 winners in their friendly match at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Friday night.
The Sharks led 10-3 at half-time, thanks to tries by Odwa Ndungane and Ryan Kankowski, and then upped the ante to run in four further tries in the second half.
The Kings, though, showed great commitment even though much of their time was spent on defence and they continually thwarted the Sharks’ attempts at the mauling drive close to the line.
The home side also got their lineout working well, with young lock David Bulbring doing some fine work in this regard, providing the backs with good possession.
The Sharks, though, were equally committed on defence and the home side had to rely on two well-struck penalties by scrumhalf Falie Oelschig for their points.
However, in the last 10 minutes of the match, the Kings took their chances when Keegan Daniel was sin-binned and from a quickly taken five-metre penalty, flank Boetie Britz forced his way over.
The visitors opened their account when slick handling by the backline opened the tiniest of gaps for Ndungane and he needed no second bidding to make it 5-0.
No 8 Kankowski also showed great penetration and driving power when he received the ball near the Kings’ tryline to force his way over for the second try.
In the second half, the Sharks increased the tempo of the game and a scintillating backline move saw them outwit the Kings defence for fullback Riaan Viljoen to score a fine try, Lambie adding the conversion.
Then Daniel showed the benefits of quick ball from the maul as he twice picked up to cross as the Kings, in retreat, battled to plug the gaps.
At that stage, it seemed the Kings might be overrun as the Sharks went 31-6 ahead, but the home side fought hard to stay in the game and were rewarded with Britz’s try.
On the stroke of full-time, the Sharks showed their class when a backline move put Paul Jordaan through a gaping hole for the visitors to end on a high note.
Tries: Odwa Ndungane, Ryan Kankowski, Riaan Viljoen, Paul Jordaan, Keegan Daniels (2)
Conversions: Patrick Lambie (4)
Try: Boetie Britz
Conversion: Earl Rose
Penalties: Falie Oelschig (2)