Sharks only bright spot in a weekend of woe

A NARROW two-point win by the Sharks over the Reds at the "Shark Tank" in Durban on Saturday afternoon spared local rugby a few blushes in week eight of the Super 14.

A NARROW two-point win by the Sharks over the Reds at the "Shark Tank" in Durban on Saturday afternoon spared local rugby a few blushes in week eight of the Super 14.

The 30-28 win was the only bright spot for local franchises as the Stormers, Bulls and Cheetahs were all on the wrong side of the scoreline in their overseas encounters.

Up against the Western Force in Perth on Friday, the Stormers looked to have the match in the bag when leading 15-13 and time up on the clock before a 45m drop goal by flyhalf David Hill stole the game for the Force and handed the Stormers their second loss in the tournament.

The Cape-based side looked out of sorts for most of the game after a bye last weekend.

Injuries meant coach Alistair Coetzee fielded a side that had a slightly unfamiliar look to it . and it showed.

Geo Aplon had a mixed game at fullback in the place of the injured Joe Pietersen while Fijian-born Sireli Naqelevuki looked like he'd rather have been lying on the beach in Camps Bay than getting his hands dirty in Perth.

The Bulls were unable to end their jinx against the Blues at Eden Park, where they have yet to win a Super 14 game. The Blues took early control of the game and forced the opposition into making mistakes.

A feature of the Bulls' game so far this season - the rolling maul - was absent and the home team took full advantage of the situation.

Time and again the visitors were pinged by referee Craig Joubert for a variety of infringements around the maul and his sin-binning of replacement forwards Pedrie Wannenberg and Flip van der Merwe consigned them to their first loss of the season - and second place on the log.

For the Cheetahs their 17-40 loss to the Waratahs in Sydney, Australia, was the worst possible way to begin their overseas trek.

In fact, the scoreline flatters the Bloemfontein boys with late tries by Corné Uys and WP Nel giving their final result a veneer of respectability.

It was another polished performance for the Waratahs, though.

Up 23-3 at the half-time break, they maintained the pressure to secure a bonus point, which now means they top the log and look good for a semifinal berth.

Other results from the weekend: Chiefs 27, Highlanders 21; Hurricanes 26, Crusaders 26.

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