Mon, Mar 30, 2015 - Page 19 News List

Sharks beat Western Force in scrappy Super 15 game

Reuters, DURBAN, South Africa

Fullback Sarel Marais scored one try and set up another as South Africa’s Sharks secured an untidy 15-9 victory over Australia’s Western Force in a Super 15 clash at King’s Park Stadium in Durban on Saturday.

With his side trailing 6-0 after an error-strewn first half, Marais ignited the Sharks comeback charge with a fine try and his mazy run laid on a second for winger Lwazi Mvovo as the home team pulled clear.

Flyhalf Fred Zeilinga came off the bench to convert the second score and added a penalty.

The Force had more than 70 percent of possession and even more the territory, but failed to use it effectively in wet conditions with a number of unforced errors.

Their points came via two penalties from flyhalf Sias Ebersohn and a late penalty from center Luke Burton, which bagged a losing bonus point.

Flanker Steve Mafi had a try chalked off after referee Nick Briant had initially given the score, but the TV official spotted an obstruction in the build-up.

It was the second television decision to go against the visitors in the match and center Kyle Godwin also spilled the ball with the line at his mercy in the closing minutes.

In Saturday’s other game, the Auckland Blues showed some fight for under-fire coach John Kirwan, but ultimately fell to a seventh successive Super 15 defeat to reigning champions the New South Wales Waratahs in Sydney.

Scrumhalf Nick Phipps and replacement Peter Betham scored tries, and flyhalf Bernard Foley kicked 13 points as the Waratahs collected their fourth win of the campaign to leave the Blues still searching for a first victory.

The Waratahs were not at their best, with a number of attacks breaking down through bundled passes, but they managed the game better in the second half to overcome the Super 15 basement dwellers.

Scrumhalf Phipps crossed for the first try after the television match official ruled Michael Hooper’s questionable final pass had not gone forward.

The Blues, though, refused to buckle and two Dan Bowden penalties sent them in at half-time only a point back at 7-6 after some tough tackling in defense.

Their renewed fight was rewarded with a try to Francis Saili in the 53rd minute after the Waratahs failed to cope with a high clearance kick and a neat offload from Charles Piutau sent the inside center over.

Foley and the Waratahs responded with three penalties after pinning the Blues back in their own half and applying pressure in the right areas.

The hosts denied Kirwan’s side a losing bonus point in the final five minutes when Betham crossed for the second try.

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