Slick Sharks slaughter Leopards

The Sharks hammered an outclassed Leopards outfit 51-6 at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium.

The hosts were expected to be competitive after their spirited fightback against the Bulls at Loftus last week where they lost by just five points, but after they trailed 13-6 after half an hour, matters declined as they conceded seven tries. The Sharks claimed their second try with 10 minutes of the first half remaining and in a blitz before the interval, they had secured the bonus point as the siren sounded when Louis Ludik dived over.

The Sharks have been lauded for their entertaining and open play, and again their offloads and running were superior to an outclassed opponent. However, young Pat Lambie exhibited a wise head in certain situations when he ensured his side wasn’t predictable by putting the ball behind the Leopards when pragmatism was required in the first half. Although performances against the Leopards and Lions are hardly the acid test, Lambie has easily passed both. Lambie was subbed after 57 minutes, a luxury coach John Plumtree could afford with the one-sided result.

Springboks Beast Mtawarira and Bismarck du Plessis also came on early, the pair entering the fray after 51 minutes. They were quiet (except for some ill-discipline from Du Plessis), but after lengthy lay-offs for respective reasons, the game-time will only do them good.

Keegan Daniel was again a standout, while another player to impress with his raw pace, power and stepping was Lwazi Mvovo. Like many players Mvovo needs some refining, but every time Mvovo touched the ball the small but appreciative Rustenburg crowd got off their feet, an encouraging sing for the 24-year-old.

However, by the final stages, the Sharks had laid such a platform and the Leopards were missing tackles with alarming regularity.

The Sharks will be encouraged by the showing, but Plumtree and co will realise their toughest test of the season comes next week against Western Province.

Meanwhile, Griquas returned to winning ways with a convincing 58-25 victory over the Pumas in Kimberley after leading just 22-20 at the break.