The Cell C Sharks defeated the Melbourne Rebels 28 – 14 in Durban.
It was a close first half, with both teams looking dangerous in attack, and scoring plenty of points. The Sharks dominated the second half, controlling possession and field position, and converting the pressure into points. Much like last week, the Rebels faded in the second half, unable to crack the Sharks defence.
The Rebels again go home empty-handed from a SA tour.
The Sharks were on the attack early, putting together sustained phase ball pressure, earning good field position. From a lineout deep in the Rebels 22, the Sharks spun the ball to Daniel du Preez, who broke the tackle of Cottrell and score a try under the sticks. Robert du Preez made no mistake with the kick, scores 7 – 0 Sharks.
The Sharks increased their lead through a successful penalty kick form du Preez. Scores 10 – 0 to the Sharks after 17 minutes.
At the restart, it was the visitors turn to attack. A lineout deep in Shark territory set Cooper with great field position, who spun the ball wide to an unmarked English on the wing, who scored the try. Cooper successfully converted, scored 10 – 7 to the Sharks.
Tom English scored a handy try out wide
From the restart, the Sharks gathered possession and go immediately on the attack. The Rebels defence held tight but conceded a penalty for offside. Robert du Preez made no mistake with the kick, scores 13 – 7 Sharks.
The Rebels hit back, with some great ball running from Meakes and Jones. Quade popped a pass to a running Maddocks, who dodged one tackle and scored under the posts. Quade made no mistake with the kick, and the Rebels were in front 14 – 13.
In the shadows of half time, the visitors once again conceded another penalty, this time for not releasing. The kick from Robert du Preez was good, and sharks went to the break with a 16 – 14 lead.
The Rebels went immediately on attack, with a good run from Cottrell. Earning a penalty, the visitors took the lineout on the Sharks 5m line. The Rebels pounded the Sharks line, and almost looked over, but were denied by a solid Sharks defence line.
With momentum behind them, the Sharks work rate lifted significantly. Basic handling errors from the Rebels in open play were punished by the Sharks, setting up good field position to launch raids into Rebels territory.
A lineout deep in Rebels territory, followed by a number of forward hit-ups, put the Rebels defence line under immense pressure. With all Rebel defenders committed, Chreuder found an unmarked Robert du Preez out wide, who scored an easy try. He converted his own try, scores 23 – 14 to the Sharks.
The Sharks increased their lead soon after the restart with a wonderful try to Manpimpi, who zipped past the Rebels line to score in the corner. Robert du Preez missed conversion, scores 28 – 14 Sharks.
Manpimpi scored a ripper try out wide
With their opportunity for a first win the republic fading fast, the Rebels launched a number of raids into Shark territory, only to lose possession through poor handling and mistimed passes.
Manpimpi almost scored another try, however an ill-timed coat hanger from Marius Louw earned him an early shower, and the Rebels a penalty.
As full-time hooter sounded, the Rebels will lament another lost opportunity. For the Sharks, a solid home win: 28 – 14.
The Game Changer
The first five minutes of the second half. I’m still not sure how the Sharks held out the Rebels and didn’t concede a penalty. It seemed to give them a new level of confidence. Likewise, the Rebels seemed to lose pace with the game, making a number of uncharacteristic handling errors.
The G&GR MOTM
This week the GAGR MoTM is Robert du Preez. He played a good all-round flyhalf game and scored 16 points. He wins bonus points for the best moustache out on the field.
With most of the Wallaby contingent back home, it was a chance from the fringe players to shine. Cottrell, Jones, Maddocks, and Cooper had good games. Meakes tried hard but made a few handling errors. Reece Hodge was quiet on the wing.
Score & Scorers
Tries: D du Preez, R du Preez, Mapimpi
Conversions: R du Preez 3
Penalties: R du Preez
Tries: English, Maddocks
Conversions: Cooper 2
Cards & citings
Louw – coat hanger tackle