stunned Sharks still smarting
THE Sharks are still seething at referee Paul Marks, whose controversial late decision denied them a win against the Waratahs in a Super 14 match in Sydney on Saturday.
The Sharks were leading 25-21 with three minutes left to play when Kurtley Beale intentionally knocked down a Stefan Terblanche pass to Ryan Kankowski with nothing but daylight between the speedy No 8 and the tryline.
The referee punished Beale for the professional foul but then refused to award a penalty try, despite Sharks' pleas. In soccer terms, the decision was akin to sending a player off for fouling an opposition player in the box, but not awarding a penalty.
"It was close but unfortunately that's how it goes with these refs," disappointed Sharks coach John Plumtree told Sowetan from Australia yesterday.
"But we've just got to move on. We played some good footy but fluffed some chances to score tries."
The loss was the Sharks' fourth straight of the competition, and left them languishing in 12th place on the log with a tough trip to Canberra to face the Brumbies on Saturday.
"We need to pretty much win all the games from here," said Plumtree.
The coach said the Sharks would persist with the new combination of Andy Goode at flyhalf and Ruan Pienaar at scrumhalf that looked promising, but it would be good if Andy could stay on the field for the whole game. He has picked up two yellow cards in two games so far.
The Sharks played 10 minutes of the game with 13 men on the field after Goode joined Jannie du Plessis in the sin bin but that was when they played their best rugby.
Asked if he was allowed to start the game with 13 men, Plumtree responded: "You are allowed to start the game with 13 but I'm not sure you're allowed to start with 16."
Keegan Daniel (concussion) and Odwa Ndungane (hamstring) are doubtful for the Brumbies game.