Young Sharks flyhalf Boeta Chamberlain slotted three drop-goals as the Sharks got their first and South Africa’s second United Rugby Championship (URC) win after beating the Ospreys 27-13 in Wales on Friday.
It’s been a hard slog for the country in the inaugural competition, but the Durbanites restored some national pride after SA went four games without a win last weekend.
The Sharks were stoic defensively, gritty under pressure and gave a good account of themselves on attack, even though the night started as if they’d fall foul of the whistle.
After the Sharks conceded three breakdown penalties in the opening six minutes at the cost of two Gareth Anscombe penalties, the first half went without much incident.
AS IT HAPPENED | Ospreys 13-27 Sharks
The Sharks had a few half-breaks that could have led to tries, such as when Ntuthuko Mchunu broke through the middle with his surprising burst of pace for a prop, but his hands let him down.
Substitute wing Werner Kok had the best opening, however, down the left wing when a simple pass would have put Anthony Volmink through, but the former Sevens star inanely chose a grubber that didn’t even leave his foot.
The Sharks never got another sniff at points bar Chamberlain’s pair of audacious drop-kicks that restored parity for the visitors going into the sheds.
Less than two minutes of the restart, Chamberlain took charge of the match when he pinched a grubber that Hyron Andrews collected and the lock offloaded to Jeremy Ward, who did the easy bit of crossing the try line.
The Sharks soaked up almost 20 minutes of Ospreys pressure and kept the Swansea side at bay with good defence, positional kicking and not overcommitting in the breakdown, where they were strictly penalised in the first half.
Eventually, the Sharks attacking promise told when they swung the ball through their backline with neat handling, which resulted in right wing Marnus Potgieter scoring their second try.
Chamberlain put some daylight between the Sharks and the Ospreys with a third drop-goal of the evening, profiting from a goal-line drop out for a second time.
Although he was struggling with a sore elbow, Chamberlain struck the ball true, which added pressure on the home side.
Ospreys’ hands deserted them as the home fans let out numerous despairing, audible sighs at their team’s sloppiness.
However, the hosts managed to get over their jitters with the ball and scored a dubious Gareth Thomas try, which looked like it had spilled over the line but was given.
Ospreys – 13 (6)
Tries: Gareth Thomas
Conversion: Stephen Myler
Penalties: Gareth Anscombe (2)
Sharks – 27 (6)
Tries: Jeremy Ward, Marnus Potgieter
Conversion: Ruan Pienaar
Penalties: Ruan Pienaar (2)
Drop goals: Boeta Chamberlain (3)
15 Dan Evans, 14 Mat Protheroe, 13 Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler, 12 Owen Watkin, 11 Luke Morgan, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Rhys Webb (captain); 8 Morgan Norris, 7 Jac Morgan 6 Will Griffiths, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Sam Parry, 1 Nicky Smith
Substitutes: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Gareth Thomas, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Rhys Davies, 20 Ethan Roots, 21 Reuben Morgan-Williams, 22 Stephen Myler, 23 Joe Hawkins
15 Anthony Volmink, 14 Marnus Potgieter, 13 Jeremy Ward, 12 Marius Louw, 11 Thaakir Abrahams, 10 Boeta Chamberlain, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Henco Venter, 7 Gerbrandt Grobler, 6 James Venter, 5 Hyron Andrews, 4 Ruben van Heerden, 3 Thomas du Toit (captain), 2 Kerron van Vuuren, 1 Ntuthuko Mchunu
Substitutes: 16 Dan Jooste, 17 Khwezi Mona, 18 Lourens Adriaanse, 19 Le Roux Roets, 20 Phepsi Buthelezi, 21 Dylan Richardson, 22 Sanele Nohamba, 23 Werner Kok