Vodacom Stormers blow Sharks away

PUBLISHED: January 29, 2010

Three tries to one just about summed up the home side’s superiority in the match although the Sharks could have closed the score gap somewhat had place-kicker Rory Kockott been on target more often with penalty attempts.

But the Stormers were full value for their win and they dominated the second half when the Sharks were pinned down in their 22m area for long spells.

A strong South-Easterly breeze greeted the teams when play got under way and the Stormers were first out of the blocks with several driving plays sprung from inside their own half. The Sharks just about contained this spirited start by the opposition and with both sides looking to keep ball in hand referee Craig Joubert had a field day blowing up both sides for numerous infringements, some of which appeared to be dubious calls.

The high penalty tally early in the match gave the teams chances to open their scoring accounts and Stormers’ marksman Joe Pietersen was on target twice in the first 11 minutes of play. During the same passage of play Sharks’ place-kicker Rory Rockott managed one goal in three goalable attempts (6-3).

A 14th minute line-out some 30 metres out from the Sharks tryline provided the Stormers with a platform to launch their first raid into the opposition 22m area and after a great break by winger Gio Aplon skipper Schalk Burger was on hand to take a scoring pass some 15 metres for the game’s only first-half try (11-3).

Kockott redeemed himself later in the half with a better kicking display and his two penalties in the space of 10 minutes kept the Sharks in the picture ahead of the break (11-9) The Stormers came close to scoring another try as they tried to duplicate their earlier scoring move from a line-out but this time centre Juan de Jongh was halted by the cover defence just under the Sharks posts.

Pietersen banged over a third penalty on the stroke of halftime to extend his side’s lead (14-9) after they were reduced to 14 players when flanker Francois Louw was sin-binned for a breakdown offence.

The Sharks came out in the second half threatening to turn the match on its head and it looked they would succeed when their substitute wing Luzuko Vulindlu rounded off a fine drive down the grandstand touchline. Steve Meyer’s conversion attempt failed but the visitors had managed to equalise scores (14-14).

But this proved to be a false alarm and instead the Stormers raised the game a notch or two and after they regained the lead in the 49th minute through a Pietersen penalty hooker Tiaan Liebenberg crashed over a try which Pietersen converted to open up a 10-point lead just on the hour (24-14).

By this time the home crowd were warming to the fiery play by their heroes who threatened several times to breach the Sharks defence as the match wound to the close.

But the fans had to wait until four minutes from the end to see a the score advance when substitute Sireli Naqelevuki scrambled his way over at the Railway Stand corner flag for an unconverted try (29-14).

Tries; Schalk Burger, Tiaan Liebenberg and Sireli Naqelevuki. Conversion; Joe Pietersen. Penalties; Pietersen(4).
Sharks: Tries; Luzuko Vulindlu. Penalties; Rory Kockott (2) and Steve Meyer.