Sharks feast on Leopards
1 Oct 2010
JON CARDINELLI reports on the Sharks’ resounding 63-6 victory over the hapless Leopards in Durban.
The fact that the hosts were missing several stars didn’t seem to matter. They were full value for their top-of-the table standing, securing the four-try bonus inside the first quarter.
The forwards were unstoppable at the set-pieces while Craig Burden and Keegan Daniel stood out with ball in hand. Daniel scored the Sharks’ first two tries thanks to a magnificent display of speed and skill, while Burden’s powerful carrying lent his side terrific momentum. The hooker also had a telling hand in the fourth score, rounding a midfield defender and then offloading to Louis Ludik on the angle.
It was a terrific and clinical display, but unfortunately one the Sharks’ failed to sustain. Having scored the fourth try in the 20th minute, they relaxed, dropping their concentration and intensity. The accuracy level dipped as they botched several try-scoring opportunities.
Charl McLeod’s penetrative running from the base finally paid dividends when a 40th minute break culminated in a a try for Odwa Ndungane. It was as much a show of the Sharks’ attacking threat as was an example of poor Leopards’ defence at the breakdown.
The visitors’ weren’t competitive enough at the breakdown and a clinical cleanout by the Sharks forwards so often resulted in quick ball. The men in black also showed a willingness to keep ball in hand, and flyhalf Andre Pretorius was especially efficient as a distributor, unleashing the wide men to run at the soft Leopards’ defence.
The Sharks have already secured a semi-final place, and this win ensures that fixture will be played in Durban. If WP lose to the Blue Bulls on Saturday, the Sharks will host the Currie Cup final should they progress past the semis.