The Sharks XV overcame a gallant second-half performance from the SWD Eagles before securing a 38-20 (half-time 33-6) win in their Vodacom Cup South Section match at Kings Park 2 in Durban on Friday.
The Sharks XV were full value for their win as they ran in six tries to two but, after reaching half-time holding a 27-point advantage they were outscored 13-5 in the second half as the hosts lost some of their structure following a raft of second-half substitutes.
The Eagles more than held their own in the first 30 minutes but lapses of concentration and moments of individual class from the hosts saw the Sharks XV wrap up a bonus point for scoring four tries inside 30 minutes.
The visitors opened the scoring thanks to a penalty from flyhalf Elric van Vuuren before the Sharks XV struck their first blow when right wing S’bura Sithole barged his way over in the corner for an unconverted try.
The Eagles regained the lead in the 10th minute when Van Vuuren succeeded with his second penalty but it was to be the last points scored by the visitors in the first half.
The Sharks XV’s second try was a thing of beauty as the hosts won a tighthead just inside their own half before eighthman Lubabalo Mtembu fed scrumhalf Cobus Reinach who set off on a jinking run on his way to scoring a wonderful individual try.
The home team roared into a 19-6 lead inside the first quarter when fullback Gouws Prinsloo caught the Eagles unawares when he took a quick tap penalty five metres from the visitors’ line before diving over for a try which he converted.
The Sharks XV, playing with a stiff breeze at the back, were building up a head of steam and they scored two more tries before the break through wing Rosco Specman and hard-working flank Brynard Stander.
Ten minutes into the second half the Sharks XV seemed to have the match sewn up after Lubabalo Mtembu rounded off a move which started inside the host’s 22 metre area.
A thrusting run from inside centre Heimar Williams set up the move before the loosehead prop showed a good turn of pace to carry the ball deep into the Eagles’ half.
A light rain began drifting over the ground and the Eagles struck back through two tries from centre Jeffery Taljaard and the aptly nicknamed lock Lubabalo “Giant” Mtyanda but it would prove to be too little too late for the visitors.
The Sharks XV – Tries: S’bura Sithole, Cobus Reinach, Gouws Prinsloo, Rosko Specman, Brynard Stander, Lubabalo Mtembu; Conversions: Prinsloo (4). .
SWD Eagles: Tries: Jeffrey Taljaard, Lubabalo Mtyanda; Conversions: Deroy Roode, Raynor Becker; Penalties: Elric van Vuuren (2).