Sharks end season with 10-try romp
July 13, 2013
Fred Zeilinga crosses for a try in his first start for the Sharks
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The Sharks scored 10 tries in a season-ending 58-13 Super Rugby romp over the Southern Kings in Durban.
Backs and forwards shared in the try-fest as the Sharks came from behind to lead 26-13 at half-time before monopolising the second-half possession.
It could have been even worse for bottom team the Kings as Sharks centre Meyer Bosman missed five of nine conversion attempts at Kings Park. The final conversion was handed to loose forward substitute Jacques Botes in a touch of season-end spirit, but his kick was predictably low, wobbly and short.
It was another harsh lesson in clinical finishing for the debutant Kings from Port Elizabeth, who lost all eight matches against South African sides.
They needed a bonus-point win to rise above the Highlanders and took a second-minute lead via a try from fly-half George Whitehead. But flanker Marcell Coetzee dotted down off a driving maul soon after and Bosman converted to give the Sharks a lead they never looked like surrendering.
The Sharks claimed a four-try bonus point after 33 minutes when awarded a penalty try after an infringement that led to Kings flanker Devin Oosthuizen being sin-binned. The Kings conceded another six tries during a torrid second half as they were starved of the ball and spent most of their time defending desperately.
The Sharks dominated the last-placed Kings in Durban (video available in Australia only)%]
Victory lifted the Sharks two places to eighth after fellow South Africans the Stormers upset the Bulls to finish seventh.
As the Sharks went into a post-match huddle, the 2012 runners-up to Chiefs would have reflected on a disappointing season. After a bright start to the 16-match league campaign, they finished with eight victories and eight defeats, and coach John Plumtree lost his job.
New Zealand-born Plumtree paid the price for a five-loss mid-season slump and has been replaced by ex-Springbok centre Brendan Venter. He has not announced who will coach the Sharks next season, although caretaker Grant Bashford is considered an unlikely choice. Former Springboks hooker and captain John Smit recently took over as chief executive of the Durban outfit and his first act was to axe the long-serving Plumtree.
The Kings now prepare for a two-leg play-off with the Golden Lions, the team they replaced in the southern hemisphere championship. The teams clash in Port Elizabeth on July 26 and Johannesburg on August 2 and the aggregate winner will represent South Africa in Super Rugby next season.