ODWA’S TRIBUTE PROVES DISAPPOINTING
Written by: Nkosazane Dambuza
The Cell C Sharks lost 31-20 against the DHL Western Province in a Currie Cup game dubbed “Odwa’s tribute” on Saturday.
The match was Sharks winger Odwa Ndungane’s 249th game, which was a tribute to him after he announced his looming retirement. But, the occasion proved a disappointment for the team when the Western Province outplayed the Sharks on home ground.
The Durban team, who have had ten consecutive wins this season and came out top on the log, have already secured a home semi-final despite the loss.
“I was very impressed with Sharks intensity in the start for a dead rubber but we were just more desperate,” said Province Coach John Dobson.
In the first four minutes, the Sharks scored the opening try when Marius Louw intercepted a pass from the Western Province defence and mangled to plunge over the line.
Sharks fly half Curwin Bosch made no mistake with the angled conversion and set his team ahead 7-0.
Province jumped into the game by forcing the Sharks onto the defensive and camped out on the try line, but Bosch earned the home side 3 points after scoring a penalty kick.
Three minutes later Western Province flyhalf Robert Du Preez replied with a penalty kick for his side.
The visitors continued to put the Sharks under pressure but a few handling mistakes lost them opportunities to capitalize.
At the halftime whistle, Bosch scored a long-range drop-goal which required the TMO to confirm that it had made it slightly over the bar, and the teams went to the restrooms with a score of 13-3.
In the second half of the game, the Western Province were desperate for a comeback and dominated the Sharks for almost the entire half.
“We were just going through the motions, and that resulted in us going into the second half thinking that we can still just go through the motions, and then they (Western Province) started playing proper rugby and put us under a lot of pressure,” said Sharks Coach Robert Du Preez.
Du Preez scored two consecutive tries giving the visitors a lead in the game before he also converted both his tries, and his team only grew stronger.
Province used all of the Sharks slacking to move ahead in the game as much as possible. Scrumhalf Dewaldt Duvenge and lock JD Schickering displayed well-executed moves and secured two more tries for the Western Province.
The game wasn’t completely over for the Sharks who managed to dot down a try from replacement winger Kobus van Wyk on the final whistle, settling the score at 31-20.
Caption: DHL Stormers defense take down former Sharks captain, Philip van der Walt at Growthpoint Kings Park. Picture Credit: The Sharks.