Recent Sharks rookie Yaw Penxe pulled off a brilliantly crafted attempt by Curwin Bosch to claim a 32-29 victory over the Bulls on Saturday in a South African Currie Cup thriller.
The half fly Bosch spotted Penxe unscored and delivered a perfectly weighted cross kick that the former Southern Kings winger grabbed and threw over the tryline in Durban.
The Bulls had a chance to level in the third minute of added time at Kings Park, but veteran flyback Morne Steyn ruffled a tilted penalty kick just outside the 22.
It was a crucial victory for the Sharks, moving them five points behind the leaders of the Bulls with a game in hand.
The Bulls had inflicted two heavy losses on the Sharks in Pretoria since domestic rugby resumed in October after a long coronavirus-induced shutdown.
The Bulls have 33 points, Sharks 28, Western Province 26, Lions 25, defending champions Cheetahs 17, Pumas 11 and Griquas five in the oldest provincial rugby competition in the world.
Points earned in Super Rugby Unlocked, a competition that predated the Currie Cup and featured the same seven teams, have been carried over to South Africa’s main competition.
“It was a great game,” said Sharks flanker and try-scorer Dylan Richardson, who was named man of the game.
“We stuck to our game plan even when we fell behind and were fighting to face the great team the Bulls are,” said a rising South African rugby star who can also play hooker.
– Kick battle –
The Sharks led 14-9 at halftime after a first half dominated by a kicking battle between Bosch and former Stade Français playmaker Steyn, each scoring three penalties.
The game became more open as the second half progressed and tries from flanker Marco van Staden and center Cornal Hendricks put the Bulls up to a 29-20 lead.
But Sharks hooker Kerron van Vuuren went from a driving maul to close the gap to five points, and then Bosch and Penxe combined to claim victory in an empty stadium due to the coronavirus.
Elsewhere, South African “golden oldies” Willem Alberts and Jannie du Plessis each scored a try as the Lions claimed three straight wins to beat the Cheetahs 39-23 at Bloemfontein.
The Johannesburg-based Lions went 13-9 ahead and rioted in the first 10 minutes of the second period with scrum-half Andre Warner scoring two tries and supporting Du Plessis one.
In Cape Town, Springbok’s World Cup-winning propeller Steven Kitshoff scored a post-shooting try to earn a bonus point to Western Province by triumphing 28-14 over the Pumas.
The score would have been much tighter if the Pumas hadn’t squandered a number of scoring chances in the first half of a penalty-riddled game.
© 2020 AFP