RORY KEOHANE saw Jean Deysel produce a Man of the Match performance in the Sharks’ 30-14 victory over a demoralised Golden Lions outfit.
Deysel has been plagued by injury this season, but he confirmed his comeback with an outstanding performance which bodes well for the latter part of the Springboks’ Rugby Championship campaign. He ran in the last of the Shark’s three tries in the 65th minute, effectively closing the door on a consolation victory for the Lions who, beneath the cloud of relegation woe, would have been looking to salvage respectability with a victory in Durban.
The Golden Lions started well enough: JC Janse van Rensburg’s penalty try in the 16th minute answered Meyer Bosman’s opening penalty for a 7-3 lead. Despite a second penalty to Bosman, the Lions would keep their noses in front until four minutes into the second half when, following a third Bosman penalty, the visitors lost the lead and their fight. Despite being behind on the scoreboard, the Sharks’ superiority seemed inevitable and the momentum favoured them in a dominant second half. The victory completes an excellent eight days, having won two successive matches to assuage the heartache of their Super Rugby final defeat.
Deysel, who’s been in and out of the Boks squad, was the biggest winner given how highly he’s rated within the national coaching staff. His physicality was telling in all facets of play and will not go unnoticed in light of Keegan Daniel’s less than imposing 50-minute performance against Argentina in Cape Town.
The win will be particularly sweet in light of last year’s Currie Cup final defeat against the Lions and gives the Sharks the early running in the competition. Western Province, the Cheetahs, the Bulls and the Golden Lions have all lost already, and the numerous changes to the Shark’s starting line-up speak of the side’s depth in the 2012 season.