Super rugby report: Sharks top South African conference after Kings victory
Last Updated: 09/03/13 8:51pm
The Sharks moved top of the South African conference after recording a hard-fought 21-12 Super Rugby victory over the Kings on Saturday.
John Plumtree's side failed to score a try for the second match in succession, but still got the job done courtesy of the boot of Springboks fly-half Pat Lambie, who landed six penalties and a drop-goal.
His opposite number, Demetri Catrakilis, kicked all of the Kings' points with four penalties as they proved their win on debut over the Western Force was no fluke.
The Sharks had one try disallowed and were held up over the line on three other occasions as they could not quite penetrate a hugely-committed Kings defence.
In the twelfth minute, with the Sharks leading 3-0 after a Lambie penalty, Louis Ludik rounded off a back-line move in the left-hand corner but, after consulting the television match official, referee Jason Jaftha disallowed the try due to a forward pass from Paul Jordaan to Ludik.
It was one-way traffic for the rest of the half as the Sharks launched several attacks, but all they could show for their efforts were two further penalties and a drop-goal, just before half-time, from Lambie.
Despite leading leading 12-3, at the interval, the Sharks would have expected a greater reward for the amount of time they spent on the attack in the Kings' half.
The Kings repeated their defensive heroics in the second period and also denied Lwazi Mvovo a try when he was held up over the line.
However, they had too few opportunities on attack to seriously threaten the Sharks and it was only the accurate boot of Catrakilis which kept them within striking distance of the Durban-based franchise.
After spending much of the first half on the back foot, the home side improved in the second half as Catrakilis booted three penalties, although the Sharks rarely seemed in danger of surrendering their lead.
Catrakilis narrowed the margin to 18-12, giving the Kings an outside chance of a major upset, but the Sharks were equally effective on defence and the hosts could find no way through, with Lambie sealing the win with another penalty in the 80th minute to deny the Kings a bonus-point.