Recent Sharks recruit Yaw Penxe scored a try brilliantly engineered by Curwin Bosch to snatch a 32-29 victory over the Bulls Saturday in a South African Currie Cup thriller.
Fly-half Bosch spotted Penxe unmarked and delivered a perfectly weighted cross kick which the former Southern Kings winger grabbed and darted over the tryline in Durban.
The Bulls did have a chance to level in the third minute of additional time at Kings Park, but veteran fly-half Morne Steyn fluffed an angled penalty kick from just outside the 22.
It was a crucial win for the Sharks, moving them within five points of leaders the Bulls with a match in hand.
The Bulls had inflicted two heavy defeats on the Sharks in Pretoria since domestic rugby restarted in October after a lengthy coronavirus-induced shutdown.
The Bulls have 33 points, the Sharks 28, Western Province 26, the Lions 25, defending champions the Cheetahs 17, the Pumas 11 and the Griquas five in the oldest provincial rugby competition in the world.
Points won in Super Rugby Unlocked, a competition that preceded the Currie Cup and featured the same seven teams, were carried forward into the leading South African competition.
“It was an awesome match,” said Sharks flanker and try scorer Dylan Richardson, who was voted man of the match.
“We stuck to our game plan even when we fell behind and were battling to cope with the great team that the Bulls are,” said a rising star of South African rugby who can also play hooker.
– Goal-kicking battle –
Sharks led 14-9 at half-time after a first half dominated by a goal-kicking battle between Bosch and former Stade Francais playmaker Steyn, with each slotting three penalties.
Play became more open as the second half progressed and tries by flanker Marco van Staden and centre Cornal Hendricks enabled the Bulls to build a 29-20 lead.
But Sharks hooker Kerron van Vuuren barged over from a driving maul to narrow the gap to five points and then Bosch and Penxe combined to snatch victory in an empty stadium because of the coronavirus.
Elsewhere, South African ‘golden oldies’ Willem Alberts and Jannie du Plessis scored a try each as the Lions made it three wins in a row by defeating the Cheetahs 39-23 in Bloemfontein.
The Johannesburg-based Lions turned over 13-9 ahead and ran riot in the first 10 minutes of the second half with scrum-half Andre Warner scoring two tries and prop Du Plessis one.
In Cape Town, Springbok World Cup-winning prop Steven Kitshoff scored a post-hooter try to earn Western Province a bonus point as they triumphed 28-14 against the Pumas.
The scoreline would have been much closer had the Pumas not squandered a number of try-scoring opportunities in the first half of a penalty-riddled match.
Story by AFP