GARETH DUNCAN watched the Sharks sneak in for a 25-23 win over WP at a wet Newlands on Saturday.
A Riaan Viljoen drop goal was enough give the Durban a winning start to their Currie Cup campaign. It was an impressive comeback as they broke down a 13-3 half-time deficit to claim the victory. WP, who were composed in the first half, delivered a poor defensive showing in the second stanza, which cost them the game.
With heavy rain creating wet conditions at Newlands, Province’s accurate tactical kicking game saw them hold the ascendancy in the opening 40. They forced play into the Sharks’ territory and Joe Pietersen punished the visitors from the kicking tee. He slotted two three-pointers before WP scored the first try of the match.
With another penalty awarded to the home side in a kickable area, captain Deon Fourie decided to opt for touch. The gamble paid off as a strong rolling maul saw Tiaan Liebenberg dive over. Pietersen added the extras.
The Sharks only managed three points before the break as Meyer Bosman slotted a penalty shortly before half-time.
But then came the comeback.
Within four minutes in the second half, the Sharks found themselves 15-13 ahead thanks to WP’s poor composure under the high ball and poor tackling.
First, Paul Jordaan showed great pace to finish off a smart attack. Viljoen’s chip was gathered by Bosman, who offloaded to the Baby Bok centre to score. Then from the resulting kick-off, Burden gathered the ball and sped to the whitewash.
Pietersen managed to regain the lead for WP with his third penalty, but it wasn’t long before Burden completed his brace. Again from the kick-off, WP failed to control possession and the fiery hooker enjoyed an easy run to the tryline. Bosman added the extras to make it 22-16.
However, the Sharks were dealt a blow when Jacques Botes was yellow-carded for a trip on Gary van Aswegen in the 67th minute.
Province capitalised on their one-man advantage, scoring a try via another strong driving maul. This time, Fourie emerged from the pile of bodies with the ball. Pietersen converted the extras for a slender advantage.
With 10 minutes to go, WP looked like they had enough to close out the game, before Viljoen slotted a drop goal to put the visitors ahead yet again. It proved to be a telling blow as WP failed to score any more points at the death, with Pietersen missing his first kick of the match in the 77th minute when he pulled his fourth penalty attempt.