The Sharks had to work very hard to beat the Southern Kings by 21-12 in front of a full house of 42,000 fans at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth on Saturday evening, as Springbok flyhalf Pat Lambie recorded all of this team’s points for the second successive week.
Lambie was successful with six penalty goals and one dropped goal, while his counterpart from the Kings, Demetri Catrakilis, slotted all four of his attempts at goal.
The six kickable penalties conceded by the Kings probably indicated their biggest problem on the night – discipline. It’s true that both sides were penalised heavily during the match, but it happened more within range for The Sharks and they duly made the score board tick over each time Lambie got the opportunity to aim at goal.
The home team especially struggled at scrum time and conceded a heap of penalties in this facet. Unlike their problematic discipline, the Kings’ defence was superb and held firm for 80 minutes under numerous onslaughts from the runners up from 2012.
But the KwaZulu-Natalians were probably a bit too lateral on attack and although they created a few try-scoring opportunities, they were kept out by brilliant defence by the Kings.
- Southern Kings – Penalty goals: Demetri Catrakilis (4).
- The Sharks – Penalty goals: Pat Lambie (6). Drop goal: Lambie.
Tellingly, at the after match press conference, it was the Southern Kings contingent who came across as if they had won and the Sharks who projected a bit of a stunned loser atttitude.
In other Super Rugby games this weekend:
The Vodacom Bulls and Toyota Cheetahs scored historic wins in New Zealand, while a nail-biting win by the DHL Stormers resulted in a clean sweep of South African teams over their New Zealand counterparts in an exciting fourth round of Vodacom Super Rugby.
In Auckland, on a sunny Sunday afternoon the visiting Vodacom Bulls shocked the previously undefeated Blues team with a great mix of attacking rugby, accurate tactical kicking and some very physical line-out drives to claim their first ever win at Eden Park (28-21). The Bulls, who remain unbeaten after three matches came inches from scoring a bonus point try, while a late try by Rene Ranger gave the hosts a losing bonus point.
Earlier during the weekend, on Saturday afternoon, the DHL Stormers got their first win of the season when they beat the defending Vodacom Super Rugby champions, the Chiefs, by 36-34 in Cape Town, despite “losing” the try-count by three to four.
It was the first time in almost four years that the DHL Stormers conceded four tries at home. The last time this happened, was on 3 May 2009, incidentally also against the Chiefs, but on that occasion the Capetonians lost 14-28.
The Cheetahs started the sweep early Saturday morning South African time, when the team from Central South Africa beat the Highlanders 36-17 after leading 30-7 at the break at Rugby Park.
The 17-point win margin was the Toyota Cheetahs’ biggest ever over a New Zealand team at any venue. They have only won seven from 35 clashes against Kiwi sides (26 defeats and two draws) and the previous biggest victory was by 28-12 on 6 March 2010 against the Hurricanes in Bloemfontein.
The last time South African teams recorded three wins on a single weekend against New Zealand sides, was on 24/25 April 2009, but all three wins were at home – the Toyota Cheetahs beat the Crusaders in Bloemfontein (20-13), the Vodacom Bulls beat the Chiefs in Pretoria (33-27) and the DHL Stormers beat the Highlanders in Cape Town (18-11).
It also happened on 16/17 February 2007, when the Sharks beat the Highlanders in Durban (23-16), the MTN Lions beat the Crusaders in Johannesburg (9-3) and the DHL Stormers beat the Chiefs in Cape Town (21-16).
The first and only other time the South African teams won home and abroad was on 13/14 April 2001. On that weekend, the MTN Lions beat the Blues in Whangarei (26-23), the Sharks beat the Chiefs in Taupo (24-8) and the DHL Stormers were too strong for the Crusaders in Cape Town (49-28).
Down Under, the Hurricanes, Reds and Brumbies recorded good victories over the weekend.
In Wellington, the Crusaders lost their second successive match as the Hurricanes beat them by 29-28 at Westpac Stadium on Friday, despite the visitors outscoring the home team by four tries to two.
Also on Friday, the Reds were too strong for the Rebels in Melbourne, winning by 23-13, while the impressive Brumbies crushed the Waratahs by 35-6 in Canberra on Saturday.