A spirited second-half performance saw the Sharks overcome the Western Force 15-9 in Durban on Saturday in Vodacom Super Rugby. The game got off to a quiet start and neither side took control in the early exchanges. The visitors had the first scoring opportunity but Sias Ebersohn’s 50 metre penalty was off target.
Francois Steyn then tried his luck with a drop goal but his effort went well wide. Both sides struggled with execution and the game turned into a bit of a scrap. Then in the 30th minute it looked like the Force scored the game’s first try.
Ben McCalam bundled the ball on the line but after consulting the TMO the officials decided to not award the try. Referee Nick Briant went back and awarded the visitors a penalty and Ebersohn made no mistake. The Perth franchise controlled the rest of the first half and Ebersohn added on another three points to give Michael Foley’s men a 6-0 half-time lead.
Rain greeted the players as the second-half began and the home side came out firing. Three minutes in and SP Marais scored the game’s first try. The fullback picked up a long pass from Steyn and dashed in for his first Super Rugby try.
Steyn failed to convert and was then replaced by Fred Zelinga. The new flyhalf then scored the go-ahead penalty in the 64th minute. Things got even better for the home crowd three minutes later as Lwazi Mvovo dotted down after some good work from Marais. Zelinga converted to give Gary Gold’s men a 15-6 lead. The Western Australians continued to fight and to their credit scored a bonus point penalty but the home side held on to claim a 15-9 victory.