Sharks fighting hard
Uninspired performance by Stormers in Durban
Last Updated: 08/05/10 9:30pm
Sharks: Hard-fought win
The Sharks earned a hard-fought 20-14 victory against the Stormers in Durban on Saturday, a result which ensures the Bulls will finish next weekend at the top of the Super 14 table.
Despite having nothing to play for except their own pride, the Sharks showed an intensity not before seen this season and kept the Stormers on the back foot.
The latter outfit turned in a flat, uninspiring performance and could have been at least 14 points down at the break after easily their worst first-half display of the season.
The Sharks had a strong wind at their backs in the first half and pinned their opponents back in their own 22 from the kick-off.
The first score came when Sharks right wing Odwa Ndungane rounded the Stormers defence in the seventh minute, with Ruan Pienaar's conversion making it 7-0.
Pienaar himself crossed in the 38th minute after Sireli Naqelevuki failed to execute a regulation dot down from what had seemed a nothing kick ahead.
Instead of touching the ball down, Naqelevuki knocked it backwards, and Pienaar was through to score.
The Stormers gave themselves hope five minutes into the second half when Peter Grant rounded off a well-worked move by scoring under the posts, then converting.
However, Grant then failed to score with a long-range penalty, while Pienaar did the same for the Sharks.
Pienaar then gave his team much-needed breathing space with a penalty in the 66th minute.
The game looked beyond the visitors going into the final five minutes when Pienaar again held his nerve to kick another three points.
Ricky Januarie crossed for the Stormers in the final minute, with Grant converting to give them a losing bonus point.
But if they lose next week they could miss out on hosting a Super 14 semi final - and maybe even the semi-finals altogether.