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Sunday, July 21, 2024

Butterfingers cost Sharks dearly in URC clash against Leinster in a wet Dublin

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Soft moments continued to dog the Sharks at the beginning of their United Rugby Championship campaign when they were well beaten 34-13 by Leinster in Dublin, but they were issues of a different type.

The week before, they lost in Limerick to Munster mostly because they undid good work by gifting the opposition tries through lapses on defence or, on the attack, failing to nail gift-wrapped opportunities.

On Saturday night in Dublin, it was the inclement conditions that were the death of the Sharks as they time and again were butter-fingered in defusing their attacks. Yes, it was awful weather as rain pummelled all of Europe but you would think the humidity of Durban would prepare the Sharks for slippery conditions.

As promised by their coach, John Plumtree, the Sharks continued their adventure on attack and they stayed in the fight and never looked like surrendering, but Plumtree’s brow furrowed as his charges continuously shot themselves in the foot with their failure to control the ball, and often after they had made good yards.

It was a dream start for the Sharks. They won a ruck penalty from the kick-off and Curwin Bosch nudged it across from in front.

The former URC champions struck straight back when left wing Jordan Larmour was put into space down the blindside after a series of phases.

The conversion was missed and Bosch grabbed the lead back with is second penalty. Again the home team hit back with a try, this time it was former Blue Bull Jason Jenkins who bulldozed over from close quarters.

There were some lively counter-attacks from deep by fullback Aphelele Fassi in the first half but there was the disturbing sight of a pained Vincent Tshituka leaving the field with an arm slung inside his jersey as half-time approach, with the home team 12-6 ahead.

The half closed with the pleasing sight of young lock Corne Rahl getting stuck in and slinging Leinster burly centre Charles Ngati over the touchline was pleasing.

Two minutes into the second half there was a potential game changer in what had been a tight match when Leinster hooker Lee Barron was yellow-carded for a high tackle on opposite number Kerron van Vuuren but the only scoring in the ensuing ten minutes was a penalty by flyhalf Harry Byrne.

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It said plenty of the pluck shown by the Sharks when Leinster had a penalty in front of the Sharks’ posts but took the three points instead of going for a try. 15-6.

A try-scoring double by Leinster substitute wing Tommy O’Brien took the game away from the Sharks but they kept fighting to the end and a try by flanker Dylan Richardson gave the score respectability.

Point-scorers

Leinster 34 — Tries: Jordan Larmour, Jason Jenkins, Tommy O’Brien, Bob Russell (2). Conversions: Harry Byrne (4). Penalty: Byrne

Sharks 13 — Try: Dylan Richardson. Penalties: Curwin Bosch (2). Conversion: Bosch.

IOL Sport

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