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Ken Borland

Sharks were utterly dominant in the scrums … but were still held to a draw

Posted on February 24, 2022 by Ken

The Sharks were utterly dominant in the scrums but failed to take full advantage of that edge and were held to a 22-22 draw by the gutsy Stormers as they conceded a final-minute penalty try in their United Rugby Championship match at Kings Park on Saturday.

The Stormers, trailing 15-22, were hard on attack and had a two-man overlap against a 14-man Sharks team when fullback Aphelele Fassi’s deliberate knock-on killed the move and he was the last defender, leaving the officials with little choice but to award the penalty try which earned the visitors a share of the spoils.

The home side were also extremely wasteful in terms of their goalkicking, as they only succeeded with three out of their eight shots at goal. Starting flyhalf Boeta Chamberlain only kicked three out of seven, but he did at least slot an impressive 47m drop goal on the stroke of halftime, following a goal-line drop-out by the Stormers.

It put the Sharks 11-3 up at the break and was important as the home side were already struggling to make their dominance count on the scoreboard.

The Sharks started in superb fashion as they won a penalty, set the lineout and then, after a ruck deep inside the Stormers 22, wing Makazole Mapimpi joined the line, but instead of knifing through on his own as he usually does, he threw a long pass out wide for outside centre Lukhanyo Am to stroll over for the opening try after just four minutes.

The Sharks stayed on attack but were then penalised five times in a row by referee Marius van der Westhuizen and the first time they infringed inside their 22, Am was yellow-carded for offsides. Flyhalf Manie Libbok put the Stormers on the board from the resulting penalty.

A massive scrum by the Sharks earned Chamberlain a penalty (8-3), but three minutes later he took too long over taking another shot at goal and the penalty was overturned. He then missed another scrum penalty, so it was relief all round in the Sharks camp when he did slot his drop goal.

The Sharks also made a great start to the second half with a splendid try. Prop Ox Nche’s leg-drive got him half through a tackle, but his skill in throwing a long pass out wide to Fassi at the same time was the key factor. Fassi then put through the perfect grubber for Mapimpi to show why he is the Finisher Supreme.

Chamberlain missed the conversion but added a 51st-minute scrum penalty to lift the Sharks into a commanding 19-3 lead.

But the Stormers kept nipping at their heels and metaphorically kicking them in their shins as they staged another late charge after their impressive win over the Bulls last weekend at Loftus Versfeld.

Warrick Gelant once again sparked matters as his little shimmy and lovely offload in the tackle to Damian Willemse saw the fullback provide a great finish through two tackles for the try.

A Chamberlain penalty put the Sharks 22-8 ahead after 65 minutes but the Stormers thoroughly dominated the closing stages.

They got their rolling maul going well and earned their first penalty try in the 69th minute when replacement prop Khutha Mchunu came in on the side a couple of metres from the line to kill the momentum. Van der Westhuizen awarded a penalty try and a yellow card.

With three minutes remaining, the Sharks were actually down to 13 men as wing Sbu Nkosi clattered into the back of Seabelo Senatla, preventing him from following up his deft grubber, and was also sent off.

Mchunu returned for the final minute, but was not able to prevent the Sharks from suffering a draw that will hurt plenty.

Meanwhile the Stormers will be celebrating seven hard-earned points on the road in the last fortnight.


Sharks – Tries: Lukhanyo Am, Makazole Mapimpi. Penalties: Boeta Chamberlain (3). Drop goal: Chamberlain.

Stormers – Tries: Damian Willemse, penalty tries (2). Penalty: Manie Libbok.

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