TWO OF the first four rugby matches in the Preparation Series ended in very close finishes, while the other two produced large wins.
On Friday the Lions edged the NNC Pumas 32-28, while on Saturday the Toyota Cheetahs managed a narrow 34-33 win over the DHL Stormers at their new home, the Cape Town Stadium.
On Sunday, the Vodacom Bulls hammered the new Eastern Province outfit 87-10, and in Sunday’s second fixture, after leading 10-7 at the half-time break, Tafel Lager Griquas succumbed to a 35-10 loss in the end, with the Sharks running in a total of five tries in the match.
Griquas played very well in the first half taking a 7-nil lead in the 22nd minute, eventually ending the first half 10-7 ahead.
After the break, the Sharks turned on the pressure and upped their defensive efforts thereby denying Griquas any more points in the game. The Kimberley side, for their part, made far too many mistakes, missing tackles, committing handling errors and playing 20 minutes with 14 players, due to ill-discipline, which included conceding a penalty try.
Griqua’s head coach, Scott Mathie spoke to the DFA on Monday saying that the team showed real application in the first half. “We had a good first half where we really oppressed our set piece issues. I thought the scrum went very well and our line-out worked.
“In our defence work, we were really abrasive in our collision, which was great” the coach said.
“However, we just didn’t handle the yellow cards well,” Mathie added. “Our game management with 14 men was not the right way to handle the yellow cards.
“We played too quick and played into their hands, instead of slowing the game down. When you only have 14 men, you need to bide your time until your player comes back onto the field.
“Unfortunately our backs did not handle that period of play effectively. Playing against the Sharks with only 14 men , does present a challenge,” he admitted.