Sharks out-muscle Hurricanes in Durban
February 22, 2014
Ryan Kankowski is met by Faifili Levave in Durban
© Getty Images
A dominant forward pack and the accurate goalkicking boot of Pat Lambie have carried the Sharks to a 27-9 win over the Hurricanes in Durban.
The South African side made it two comfortable results from two following their 31-16 win over the Bulls last week to go to the top of the Super Rugby standings ahead of a bye next weekend. The Hurricanes tasted defeat in their first game after conceding a try in each half and being largely outplayed up front.
Lambie kicked 17 points in a six-from-seven return, taking advantage of his team's dominance in possession and territory. He slotted an early penalty and converted a 20th minute try to flanker Willem Alberts which rewarded the home side's early command of the scrums and mauls.
The Hurricanes struck back through penalties to fly-half Beauden Barrett and fullback Marty Banks - the latter a 55m kick - to trail just 10-6 at half-time.
Lambie and Barrett traded penalties soon after the break before Sharks wing Lwazi Mvovo broke the game open with an intercept try, gratefully snaffling a loose Banks pass and racing 40m to score untouched.
Any hopes of a late Hurricanes comeback were snuffed out by a yellow card handed to flanker Adam Hill for a lifting tackle on Mvovo with 8 minutes to play. The Sharks dominated the closing stages, allowing Lambie to kick his fourth and fifth penalties.
Banks made an accomplished debut at fullback while scrum-half TJ Perenara and flanker Jack Lam were influential at times for the Hurricanes, who face another daunting fixture against the Stormers in Cape Town next week. Their All Blacks centre Conrad Smith said the team's scrum and lineout shortcomings would be addressed in the meantime.
"We've come up against a pretty good Sharks team with a game behind them. It was always going to be hard for us," he said. "Set piece will be a big work-on. You've got to do the first things right and we let ourselves down there tonight."
The Sharks take an early competition lead with a comprehensive victory over the Hurricanes
As Ray McLoughlin prepares to celebrate his 75th birthday, Huw Richards pays tribute to the man and the selectors who had the wisdom to bring him into the Ireland fold
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament