With one minute to play Griquas were leading 33-31, but still the Sharks managed to scrap their way to the win, courtesy of a post-hooter penalty by the inevitably composed Curwin Bosch.
DURBAN – Just about as important as the log points the Sharks eventually secured on Friday night was the immense character the Durbanites showed to dig themselves out of a cavernous big hole in Kimberley.
Tenacious Griquas were leading 30-17 with 16 minutes to play, and neutral observers would not have predicted anything but the cockahoop home side notching up their first win of the season. And then with one minute to play Griquas were leading 33-31, but still the Sharks managed to scrap their way to the win, courtesy of a post-hooter penalty by the inevitably composed Curwin Bosch.
The resilience the Sharks displayed suggests there is indeed something special building under Sean Everitt because this win had “character” written all over it.
It would be churlish to criticise the Sharks for being in a position where they had to rise Lazarus-like from the dead because that would be taking the shine off a very good performance by Griquas, who are exceptionally well-coached by former Shark Scott Mathie, and despite having now lost five matches in a row, they can say they almost beat the Bulls (in round one) and the Sharks, and in all of their games they have punched well above their weight considering their meagre resources.
Let’s also not forget that just over a year ago, this Griquas team beat the Sharks at Jonsson Kings Park in Sean Everitt’s first match in charge, and how the coach’s heart must have been pounding as the threat of lightning striking twice hovered.
But Everitt’s players rewarded their coach with a win that takes them to within two points of the Bulls on the Super Rugby Unlocked log, with one round of this competition to go.
It is unlikely that the Sharks are going to overhaul the Bulls to win the trophy but these points earned so dramatically will be vital in that Unlocked log points are taken into the Currie Cup.
Spare a thought for Griquas, folks, this was a heartbreaking loss for the plucky diamond fielders, who scored three very good tries while their flyhalf, Tinus de Beer, had a 100-percent record with the boot, nailing three conversions and four penalties.
But that man Bosch also kicked every one of his attempts at goal, including that last-gasp pressure penalty at the very death.
If there was a stand-out player for the Sharks, it would have to be flanker Thembelani Bhole, who was all over the show, all at once. He was starting his first match for the Sharks after coming to Durban on loan from the liquidated Kings.
You can bet he won’t be going back to Port Elizabeth after more than taking his chance that only came his way because of Covid-19 precluding the selection of three Sharks players, two of them first-choice loose forwards.
Griquas – Tries: Ederies Arendse, Eduan Keyter, Gideon van der Merwe. Penalties: Tinus de Beer (4). Conversions: De Beer (3).
Sharks – Tries: Sanele Nohamba, Manie Libbok, Jeremy Ward, Dylan Richardson. Conversions: Curwin Bosch (4). Penalties: Bosch (2).