Curwin Bosch the hero as Sharks survive mighty Griquas onslaught
Marius Louw of the Sharks and Harlon Klaasen of Griquas.
Frikkie Kapp/Gallo Images
The Sharks managed to keep their Super Rugby Unlocked hopes alive with a blistering final quarter subdue a gutsy Griquas 34-33 in Kimberley on Friday night.
As it happened | Griquas v Sharks
Springbok replacement S’bu Nkosi proved his worth in the final play of the game, brilliantly regaining a short restart from flyhalf Curwin Bosch in injury time after the Durbanites had seemingly suffered an unexpected defeat when counterpart Tinus de Beer kicked his fourth penalty following an effective maul.
The Sharks then managed to hold on to possession long enough for Griquas to make an agonising mistake at a ruck and commit the decisive infringement.
Bosch duly pounced to break the hosts’ hearts.
His kick actually put the finishing touches to a creditable comeback effort where two tries in three minutes ultimately proved crucial for the Sharks, who capitalised on the winless home side’s fragile state of mind as they became unnerved after establishing a deserved if surprising 30-17 lead.
Opensider Gideon van der Merwe had just rounded off a workmanlike performance with the Peacock Blues’ third try of the night from a spilt lineout ball and the they looked set to keep the visitors at bay as they messed up the kick-off.
But, perhaps seduced by the resultant advantage, chose to play the ball wide and knocked-on themselves just after referee Griffin Colby called the advantage over.
Sharks skipper Jeremy Ward went over from the set-piece before the Griquas defence collapsed in the face of a free-flowing attacking move, where No 8 Phepsi Buthelezi made the decisive run before off-loading to super sub hooker Dylan Richardson.
It was all very hard on the worthy hosts, who put their previous defensive woes aside and frustrated an overly adventurous and tactically naive Sharks team at the breakdowns.
De Beer punished the visitors’ indiscretions with three attempts at goal to hand Griquas a 9-7 lead at half-time, but they lacked punching power.
That changed in the second half as they gained ascendancy at the scrums and found their attacking verve, Van der Merwe shooting through a gap after a patient build-up to set up wing Ederies Arendse.
His partner, Eduan Keyter, then ran a brilliant angle to exploit a right shoulder at the scrum.
Yet the Sharks showed enough resolve to keep themselves in the game as the hosts proved the old adage that teams in a losing groove struggle to cope with match situations where they’re suddenly on the front foot.
Griquas – 33 (9)
Tries: Ederies Arendse, Eduan Keyter, Gideon van der Merwe
Conversions: Tinus de Beer (3)
Penalties: De Beer (4)
Sharks – 34 (7)
Tries: Sanele Nohamba, Manie Libbok, Jeremy Ward, Dylan Richardson
Conversions: Curwin Bosch (4)
Penalties: Bosch (2)