The Sharks are the chameleons of South African rugby – one week it’s on and the next week it’s off.
Last weekend it was their “off” week when they were beaten 32 – 20 in the United Rugby Championship in Llanelli by the Scarlets, the second worst Welsh team.
Only a week later, at Kingspark, the Sharks switched to the highest gear when they beat Munster of Ireland 50 – 35 in the European Champions Cup series on Saturday.
With just two changes?
The Sharks were ahead 17 – 14 at halftime and scored seven tries. Three of them followed a blitzkrieg within 15 minutes after half-time which followed four consecutive penalties in their favour.
Those tries were scored by Bongi Mbonambi (2) and Werner Kok, who completely took the wind out of Munster’s sails.
Also consider that the Sharks were severely hampered when the Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth, his substitute Emile van Heerden, the scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse and the full back Boeta Chamberlain were injured and had to be replaced.
But their replacements slotted in seamlessly.
Etzebeth’s injury is a bit of a mystery, because he did not return after the break. It did look like a muscle injury.
The Sharks, who have now reached the semi-finals of the series, are pinning their hopes on the Bulls to beat Toulouse in France on Sunday afternoon.
If the Bulls get it right, the semi-final is at Kingspark, otherwise the Sharks have to travel to Toulouse.
* The New Zealander John Plumtree, who played for the Sharks for many years and also coached them for a long time, was in the pavilion.
According to the men in the know, he will soon be appointed as the Sharks’ new coach so that Neil Powell can resume his duties as the director of rugby.
Plumtree will be smiling from ear to ear at the Sharks’ scrum and their ability in the set piece where they smothered Munster in the battle for the ball. They also missed fewer tackles than Munster and advanced much further with the ball.
Then too, if flyhalf Curwin Bosch heats up the day, he is hot water and a match winner.
Scorers: Sharks 50 (17): Tries: Jaden Hendrikse, Eben Etzebeth, Bongo Mbonambi (2), Werner Kok, Makazole Mapimpi, Curwin Bosch. Goals: Bosch (6). Penalty goal: Bosch.
Munster 35 (14): Tries. Shane Daly (2), David Kilcoyne, Josh Wycherley, Diarmuid Barron. Goals: Dave Crawley (5).
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