Replacement Kyle Cooper scored a 75th-minute try to lift a Coastal Sharks team reduced to 14 men for 63 minutes and to 13 during the second half to a 30-25 win over the Canterbury Crusaders yesterday.
Cooper’s try forced the fifth and final lead change of the second half, clinching the Shark’s ninth win in 12 matches and giving them their first-ever win over the Crusaders in Christchurch.
Flanker Jean Deysel was shown a red card in the 17th minute for a vicious, off-the-ball stomp on the face of Crusaders backrower Jordan Taufua. His loss seemed an insurmountable handicap to the Sharks but, instead, seemed to galvanize the Durban-based side, who extended their stay in first place on the Super 15 log and snapped the Crusaders’ winning streak at five games.
The Sharks were left even further undermanned in the 64th minute when No. 8 Willem Alberts was sin-binned for taking out a player off the ball. Though reduced to 13 men through a crucial passage of the match, the Sharks still managed to fight back to reclaim the lead.
Flyhalf Colin Slade scored all of the Crusaders’ points, scoring a try, adding the conversion and landing six penalties to surpass 20 points for the second straight week. His sixth penalty gave the Crusaders their last lead, at 25-23, after 72 minutes.
However, the Sharks forced their way back into Crusaders territory to regain the lead when Cooper barged over through weak open-side defense.
The Sharks then held out the frenetic attempts of the Crusaders to snatch the game in its final minutes. The close-knit defense which had denied the Crusaders for most of the match held strong under that late pressure and the Sharks achieved an historic win, marking the 100th Super Rugby matches of props Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira and Jannie du Plessis.
“I must say I’m really, really proud of the guys and especially for Jannie and Beast, playing their 100th games,” Sharks captain Bismarck du Plessis said. “It’s very emotional for us. We’ve been here and come close, but we’ve never won here so it’s a big thing for us.”
“A red card so early in the game really brings the team that much closer to each other and everybody talked so much, it made my job that much easier,” he added.
The Crusaders’ playoffs hopes took a slight hit from yesterday’s defeat. Their winning run had carried them to fifth place on the championships ladder, but having now stalled, leaves them vulnerable to the a clutch of teams pressing for top-six places.
They were guilty of playing unambitious rugby when they found themselves with a one-man advantage. In the 10 minutes after Deysel’s dismissal they enjoyed an 81 percent territorial advantage, but tried too often to advance their game by kicking and allowed the Sharks a significant advantage of possession.
The same deficiency hampered the Crusaders in the second half: They were unable to keep the ball in hand for long enough periods to accentuate their numerical advantage.
“It’s disappointing to let that one get away,” Crusaders captain Ryan Crotty said. “They did well to slow the game down, they played smart and we didn’t execute as well as we should have.”
Center Sibusiso Sithole scored an early try for the Sharks, but Slade replied with the Crusaders’ only try in the 12th minute when Sharks scrumhalf Cobus Reinach failed to neutralize a positional kick. The Crusaders took a 13-10 lead to halftime before Reinach atoned for his error with the first try of the second half.
An exchange of penalties kept the lead changing hands until Cooper’s decisive late try.
“Road Runner” Alphonso Davies lived up to his nickname with another lightning sprint on Saturday as Bayern Munich opened a 10-point lead in the Bundesliga. Having defeated second-placed Borussia Dortmund 1-0 away in midweek, Bayern enjoyed a 5-0 romp over Fortuna Duesseldorf. Defender Mathias Joergensen scored an early own-goal before Benjamin Pavard, Robert Lewandowski (2) and Davies scored for Bayern. With five games remaining, the defending champions, who have won their past eight league games, are comfortably on course for an eighth straight league title. Davies scored the best goal of the game when the fleet-footed defender pressed Duesseldorf into making a mistake, barged
The losing captain thanked the winning team’s players for their personal sacrifices leading into the match and a charter flight pilot received a big round of applause when his plane beat incoming fog to touch down after midnight following another game as feel-good stories off the field matched those on it as the National Rugby League (NRL) restarted its season in Australia over the weekend. The New Zealand Warriors’ 18-0 win over St George Illawarra was the Auckland-based team’s first of the season after three rounds and it could not have come at a better time. Due to international travel restrictions
Taiwan Steel celebrated a big win over Tatung in the Taiwan Premier League yesterday, while undefeated Taichung Futuro remained at the top of the table, although their lead is only one point. Four of the eight teams were in action, completing matches postponed the previous weekend due to rain, with Taipower and Hang Yuan playing out a scoreless draw in Kaohsiung. Taiwan Steel are sorting out their early-season problems as they chase the leaders and it showed against defending champions Tatung at the Jhubei Stadium in Hsinchu County. Haitian striker Benchy Astama netted a brace and midfielder Kuo Po-wei’s outstanding solo effort sent
DISTANCING RULES: The government said social distancing should be maintained during disputes and celebrations, but conceded it would not be possible during play The Premier League on Saturday was given British government approval to press ahead with its June 17 restart, although players will have to stay apart during goal celebrations and disputes to maintain social distancing. Further details of the league’s plans for dealing with COVID-19 cases have been disclosed with clubs likely to have to play even if they only have 15 fit squad members. In a further boost to the league’s restart plans, there were no positives in the fourth round of twice-weekly testing. Tests were conducted on 1,130 players and club personnel on Thursday and Friday as contact training resumed. The season