Sharks didn’t play well, but they won the URC

Sharks didn’t play well, but they won the URC

The Sharks struggled mightily, but their unwavering resolve finally helped them defeat the Dragons 20-19 URC at Rodney Parade in Newport.

It was by no means beautiful, but four crucial road log points were banked, making this victory and last week’s victory against Zebre all the more significant. The Sharks’ trip will come to an end next week with a tough challenge against Leinster in Dublin.

But for the most of this game, the careless Sharks were their own worst enemies, and they nearly worked together to lose to a very subpar Dragons squad who did nothing other than capitalize on their opponents’ mistakes.

Throughout the whole game, there was a sense that the Sharks were going to shift into high gear and destroy the Welshmen, only for the Durbanites to thwart their own efforts.

The Sharks missed lineouts, were subjected to a barrage of penalties, and often gave the ball over at the breakdown.

In the eighth minute, Chamberlain scored a penalty goal to start the scoring, but Will Reed, his opponent, quickly tied the score and added another.

The Sharks were unable to leave their half as a result of the constant penalties against them, which was unfortunate because when they did manage to move the ball and have decent possession, centers Ben Tapuai and Rohan Janse van Rensburg looked extremely dangerous, consistently finding openings in the defense.

After Chamberlain scored three points back with his second penalty just before halftime, Reed kicked his third penalty at the halfway point of the game. Reed then converted his fourth penalty as the buzzer rang to give his team a 12-6 halftime advantage.

The Sharks continued to stumble as the second half got underway, and when the home side was given possession and hooker Elliot Dee drove over, it was clear that something had to change since the score was 19-6.

When the Sharks’ ball carriers advanced aggressively, the ball was too often lost in the next breakdown. Strong hauling was also done, particularly by the tenacious Dylan Richardson, but the results of the fine effort kept being undone.

With five minutes left, Sihumbuzo Notshe broke through a tackle to release Thaakir Abrahams, who finished brilliantly. Chamberlain’s conversion pushed the Sharks into what would be a winning lead. As the game entered the third quarter, it was Grant Williams who ignited a comeback, as he has so often done.

Point-Scorers

Sharks 20 – Tries from Thaakir Abrahams and Grant Williams. Boeta Chamberlain faces penalties (3). Chamberlain is converted (2).

Try: Elliot Dee, Dragons 19. Will Reed faces penalties (4). Reed, conversions.

»Sharks didn’t play well, but they won the URC«

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