The Sharks beat Eastern Province 36-24 at the U18 Craven Week on Monday, writes TYRONE ENGEL.
The tournament hosts led 18-3 at the break and while EP fought their way back in the second half to trail just 21-17, the Sharks finished strongly to secure the win.
The Sharks opened the scoring in the first minute, with right wing Tonderai Nduduzo going over in the corner after some good work at the breakdown and quick hands from the backline. Centre Martin Holtzhausen failed with the conversion.
A brilliant individual effort from centre Seun Maduna, who handed off three players on his way to the tryline, then extended the hosts’ lead to 13 points inside 10 minutes. The Sharks continued to dominate the early stages and looked like scoring at any moment.
Fullback Riaan van Rensburg finally put EP on the scoreboard with a long-range penalty kick in the 24th minute.
Hooker Dylan Richardson then scored the Sharks’ third try from a powerful scrum 5m from the tryline to give the home side an 18-3 lead at the break.
EP looked to attack early in the second half, but the Sharks’ strong defence in the tight phases allowed them to turn the ball over and relieve some pressure.
However, EP were rewarded for their efforts in the 44th minute as some good interplay and offloading skills from the backs saw centre Sicelo Tole run in for their first try. Van Rensburg added the extras.
However, the Sharks hit back immediately as Holtzhausen slotted his second penalty kick to take their lead out to 11 points. But their lead was again reduced as Eastern Province flyhalf Keegan Tait collected scrumhalf Louis Strydom’s clever box-kick to score a converted try in the right-hand corner.
Holtzhausen then kicked a third penalty goal before he and flank Luke Crowshaw added two more tries to the Sharks’ tally to take them out to a 19-point lead with four minutes to play.
EP continued their attack and claimed a consolation converted try from centre Ayabonga Oliphant.
Sharks – Tries: Tonderai Nduduzo, Seun Maduna, Dylan Richardson, Luke Crowshaw, Martin Holtzhausen. Conversion: Cameron Ritchie. Penalties: Holtzhausen (3).
Eastern Province – Tries: Sicelo Tole, Keagan Tait, Ayabonga Oliphant. Conversions: Riaan van Rensburg (3). Penalty: Van Rensburg.
Sharks – 15 Cham Zondeki, 14 Tonderai Nduduzo, 13 Martin Holtzhausen, 12 Seun Maduna, 11 GJ Lubbe, 10 AB Curtis, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 James Miller, 7 Phendulani Buthelezi, 6 Luke Crowshaw, 5 Jared Meyer, 4 JJ van der Mescht, 3 Renier van Rooyen, 2 Dylan Richardson, 1 Gugu Nelani.
Subs: 16 Fezo Mbatha, 17 Quinton Vorster, 18 Calvin Zandamela, 19 Durandt Weiderman, 20 Austin Brummer, 21 Sibonakaliso Dubazane, 22 Cameron Ritchie, 23 Onke Jiba.
Eastern Province – 15 Riaan van Rensburg, 14 Sihle Njezula, 13 Aya Oliphant, 12 Sicelo Tole, 11 Aya Matroos, 10 Keegan Tait, 9 Louis Strydom, 8 Khwezi Maf, 7 Tertius Groenewald, 6 Zane Barnard, 5 William Duckitt, 4 Ruben le Roux, 3 Ettiene Janneke, 2 Viaan Wolmerans, 1 Stefan van der Poel.
Subs: 16 Ruan Jonker, 17 Roelof Roodt, 18 Le Klue Stokes, 19 Donovan Stevens, 20 Gregan Glover, 21 Lubabalo Dobela, 22 Khanya Mafunda, 23 Waqar Solaan.
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images