The Sharks proved the more physical to edge the Stormers at Kings Park.
The hosts beat the Stormers 12 – 6 after the match was scoreless at half time.
The match was hyped to be great viewing pleasure, but what followed was a disappointing show of what South African rugby has become. Four penalties beat two penalties as neither team looked close to getting over the tryline.
The first half was an error strewn kicking match in which both flyhalves attempted to gain the upper hand with clever kicks into space, but neither succeeded in putting their flyers away. Gio Aplon had the best opportunity of the half, but coughed up a cross kick, that could have been a five pointer had he held on.
After no points in the opening fourty, the second half got off to a flying start as Lambie and Pietersen exchanged penalties in first five minutes after the break. Another penalty each kept the game even, before the Stormers conceded another two for Lambie to extend the lead to six.
All the cliché’s will be thrown around this week, ‘battle of attrition’ and ‘clash of the titans’, and yes it was, but the distinct lack of try scoring opportunities and creativity from both sides will be worrying.
Man of the match Jean Deysel was immense for the Sharks, pilfering numerous balls at the breakdown and being a strong runner in the loose. The Sharks loose forwards will be happy to have matched the Stormers’ trio, both physically and with some good runs.
The Stormers battled at the lineouts, the set piece they were expected to dominate, and with the Sharks having the upper hand at scrum time, the home side got the better of the set pieces.
Many will feel a draw would have been the fairest result as neither team really deserved to win the match more than the other.
Conditions were difficult because of humidity but more was rightfully expected of the match because of the class of player on both sides.
By Richard Ferguson